Imagine the excess, and then double it

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The Independent Culture

It all starts horribly early. You have to be there at 3.30pm and the show starts at 5pm. There's a cocktail thing first and then everybody sets out for the ceremony.

The red carpet is bisected. The stars go down the left-hand side and run the gauntlet of the press and it takes them about half an hour. It takes a normal person about a minute.

The best screenplay Oscar was the one I thought Gosford Park would have a good chance of winning, but I realised that the others in that category were very strong scripts, too – Monster's Ball, The Royal Tenenbaums. It was very gratifying when Julian Fellowes won.

As the evening went on I thought "maybe" for Bob Altman as best director for Gosford Park. I'm sure he was disappointed when he didn't but he will live to fight another day.

It was a very good show, pretty smooth. Woody Allen turned up and was very funny. The thing that often happens, where presenters have to make very lame jokes, didn't happen and the Halle Berry moment was very moving.

Afterwards we attended the official ball. There was lots of lavish food. You can imagine the excess and then double it. Then everyone goes to their respective parties – we went to the Gosford Park's. I went to see how heavy Julian's Oscar was. It was very heavy.

Then we were going to go to Elton John's party but the queue of limos went on for three blocks so at that point we said enough is enough and went back to the hotel. Nobody in this town stays up late – that's too unhealthy.

The writer is head of the Film Council's Première Fund, which gave the movie 'Gosford Park' £2m.

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