Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek straight-up fell off the stage at the 91st Academy Awards ceremony, but nothing was going to keep the newly minted Best Actor winner from popping Champagne last night. Malek was all smiles at the Governor's Ball after-party, where he took a break from showing off his golden trophy to blast a nice big bottle of Piper-Heidsieck Champagne Rare. Piper was the Champagne toast of champions for the evening; other winners—Spike Lee (Best Adapted Screenplay) and Lady Gaga (Best Original Song)—were spotted hoisting it as well. We salute Gaga especially; right after her win, she kept her eye on the real prize, immediately asking, "Is there Champagne?" backstage.
This year marks the fifth time Piper has been one of the official pours of the ceremony and after-party, and the house created limited-edition Cuvée Brut magnums for the occasion, decked out with custom-made red-and-gold Oscars-themed labels. Some 8,500 glasses of the brut and Piper-Heidsieck Rare 2002 and 1998, were passed around throughout the night.
Wines by Francis Ford Coppola were also back in the spotlight for the third year, filling some 14,000 glasses for the stars. This year, the director, winemaker and six-time Oscar winner himself wanted to spotlight his wine bottles as works of art to match the occasion. Exclusively created for the award show, the Final Cut 91st Edition Rutherford 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon and Final Cut 91st Edition Russian River Valley 2017 Chardonnay sported animated zoetrope-style label reels, which took five years to develop. "Winemaking and filmmaking are two great art forms that are very important in the development of California," Coppola told Unfiltered via email. "In both cases, you have to start with top-notch raw materials—whether it’s the land or a script."
And the focus on delivering quality land materials to Oscar attendees—Cabernet grapes sourced from Francis and Eleanor Coppola's ranch and Chardonnay from Sonoma's Dutton Hill Vineyard—was as important as showing off the stylish labels, said winemaker Sandy Walheim: "It’s the style of wine that the Academy loves, as well as the guests."
No star-studded after-party is complete without bites, and the Academy called on longtime caterer and sometime crime-fighter for the big night Wolfgang Puck to run the show; his team whipped up more than 60 different hors d'oeuvres and small-plate entrées, including perennial favorites like his spicy tuna in sesame cones, truffle macaroni and cheese, and gold-dusted chocolate Oscars statuette–shaped treats. “I enjoy creating the menu every year for the Governors Ball," Puck told Unfiltered of his involvement via email. "We like for it to be the perfect marriage of innovation and tradition."
Puck wasn't the only chef Unfiltered recognized on the scene, of course: Humanitarian José Andrés was on hand to introduce Best Picture nominee Roma, calling it a "beautiful, intimate film."
Even viewers at home got a taste of Oscars wine magic, or wine-based spirits anyway. Hennessy debuted the 60-second version of its new short film, "The Seven Worlds," during the commercials, directed by another guy with a bunch of Oscar nods and a vineyard, Ridley Scott. The film takes viewers into seven different worlds meant to represent the seven flavor profiles found in its new bottling of Hennessy X.O., and there's a four-minute cut as well.
“I was attracted to this project because I was inspired by the potential for art and entertainment to bring this story to life," Scott told Unfiltered via email. "I think people will be stunned when they see the film.” Strong words for a Cognac ad, you may think, but Scott has a reputation has a pretty deft ad man; you may remember a little spot he once directed for Apple called "1984" from being the most famous commercial of all time.
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