The cucumber finger sandwiches couldn't compete with Jeff Bridges and Ben Affleck, as the actors provided the most head-turning entrance at the BAFTA Tea Party in Beverly Hills on Saturday.
On an 80-degree day, a powder-keg's worth of star power and a bar full of gin made for an eventful gathering as the British Academy of Film and Television Arts held its annual awards-season event at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.
Bridges and Affleck laughed and chatted as necks craned and servers in black ties passed by with silver trays filled with fish and chips in paper cones. Bridges' appearance was purely ceremonial, as "True Grit" is not nominated for a Golden Globe this year. Still, last year's best actor winner said he was looking forward to presenting the best actress award at Sunday's ceremony.
"It's a nice tradition," said Bridges, doing the honors this year after taking home last year's trophy for his raw performance as a fading, alcoholic country singer in "Crazy Heart."
"And it's good to see so many friends here."
Meanwhile, Aaron Eckhart talked with a table of agents about his ambition to direct. "I want to make movies about men and families and children that the whole family can see," he said. "I don't think Hollywood has covered that niche yet."
A few feet away, Nicole Kidman -- dressed in casual pants, with her long red hair swept neatly around her slender shoulders -- chatted with friends and studiously avoided the party photographers.
Around the corner, in front of an elaborate table of tea cakes, Mark Ruffalo and Evan Handler hung around together fairly exclusively, taking a break from their conversation only to talk to the occasional lanky blond or brunette.
BAFTA/LA Chairman Nigel Lythgoe made the rounds and happily played the congenial host.
"I love how terribly British this all feels," he told Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern. "The room is elegant and the chef is British. It feels as if you're at the Ritz. No awards are being given, but everyone is being rewarded by a cup of tea."
A few tables over, Kathy Griffin, dressed in a form-fitting Oscar de la Renta dress, sipped her drink and watched the proceedings with a wry smile. When asked what she had in her purse on this particular day -- last year at the Emmys, her answer to this reporter was "crack cocaine" -- she said, "A Shake Weight to keep my arms in shape."
And the highlight of her day? "I thought Jeremy Renner was handsome, but he looked like Rob Lowenstein in 'St. Elmo's Fire.' "
Click the pics for more photos from the red carpet.
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-- Jessica Gelt
Photos, from top: Jeff Bridges, Nicole Kidman and Jeremy Renner arrive at the BAFTA Tea Party held at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills on Sunday. Credits, from top: Dan Steinberg / Associated Press; Dan Steinberg / Associated Press; Frazer Harrison / Getty Images.