The Early Show's party-hopping correspondent Hattie Kauffman got that golden assignment, and says the parties go on until dawn,
One of the great things about the Oscars is, you don't have to win. You don't even have to be nominated to go out and celebrate Hollywood's biggest night.
"It's high holy week for show biz, like going to church a bit," observed Steve Martin.
William H. Macy, who was nearby at the Vanity Fair affair, chimed in, saying with a laugh, "I'm a wild and crazy guy tonight."
"Is it fun putting on the bling?" Kauffman asked "West Wing" actress Allison Janney.
"Oh, definitely," came the response. "It's so fabulous. My favorite thing is to go the next morning to Starbucks with this on, and say, 'I'll have a latte.' "
"So who do you most like to dance with here at the party?" Kauffman asked Jessica Simpson.
"My husband!" Simpson said without missing a beat.
"What kind of question is that, now?" joked Simpson's husband, Nick Lachey.
The first stop on the Oscar party circuit, Kauffman says, is always the Governor's Ball, where winners such as Hilary Swank have the first opportunity to show off their gold. "Can you believe it?" Swank asked believers at the party. "I'm a little bit in shock right now. A lot of bit in shock!"
"The Vanity Fair party is one of Tinseltown's hottest tickets, Kauffman noted from the event. "It's a steady stream of big names, big jewels and big fun."
"It's like having a party at Madame Tussaud's," said actor-director Mike Myers.
"Like the wax museum, they come alive," Kauffman says.
"Is there nothing like walking into this party when you've got your statue?" Kauffman queried of Gwyneth Paltrow.
"Oh, it's nice just to come as a guest, you know, it really is," Paltrow answered. "It's no pressure."
pointed out, "You know, what's nice is they don't take the nomination away from you after you don't win it, so that's really good," He was up for Best Supporting Actor for his work in "The Aviator," but didn't take home the statuette. Morgan Freeman did, for "Million Dollar Baby."
"Are you very disappointed?" Kauffman asked Don Cheadle. "No, I'm not very, very disappointed. It was a good year, and every member in the category was strong and I can't be mad at whoever won," said the Best Actor nominee. He was recognized for his role in "Hotel Rwanda." Jamie Foxx walked off with that honor, for "Ray."
Both Antonio Banderas and Beyoncé performed during the Oscar telecast. Then they came to relax at the Vanity Fair party.
"Do you have some song and dance left in you after that performance?"
"Uh, yes," Banderas chuckled to Kauffman's question.
"Are you going to sing at the party?"
"I don't think so," he chuckled again.
"This is actually my first time at a Vanity Fair party," Beyoncé said. "This is my first time at the Oscars. So this is all new to me."
Parties are a time to celebrate. What are you celebrating tonight?" Kauffman asked director Spike Lee.
"I'm celebrating with Morgan Freeman, celebrating with Jamie Foxx," Lee responded.
Faye Dunaway told Kauffman at the Graydon's party that the idea there is to dance.
Kauffman observed that if you love movies andmusic, Elton John's party was the place to be.
John himself performed at the event, which benefits the Elton John AIDS Foundation. The festivities attracted Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor, a longtime AIDS activist.
"It's a great party, great every year," John said. "People coming, have fun."
Ben Kingsley said of John, "He has a big heart. He's a great musician, full of love and compassion."
"It's fun, it's glamour, it's Hollywood," added Brooke Shields.
Kauffman stressed she only got to a few of the parties; there were many more. In fact, there have been parties all week leading up to the Oscars. "It's safe to assume," she concluded, "Hollywood has a hangover this morning."
One more note from Kauffman: Both Antonio Banderas and Hilary Swank took the time to walk across the street and shake hands and sign autographs for the fans who stood in the dark for hours, waiting just to get a glimpse of the stars.