By Sharon Clott Kanter
Updated Feb 23, 2015 @ 5:03 pm
Credit: VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images

Three hours and 38 minutes is a long time to sit still, so as soon as Birdman took the top honors of Best Picture and Neil Patrick Harris told the crowd “buenos noches,” the stars gathered up their trains and headed a few floors up the escalators of the Dolby Theater to the official after-party of the Academy Awards, the Governors Ball. Flutes of champagne and glasses of chardonnay greeted stars as they walked through the door, but what they really wanted was food. "I’m just starving—I have to go grab something to eat!” said Felicity Jones as she sashayed in clutching a Lego Oscar that had been given out during the "Everything Is Awesome" performance, the crowd making way for her giant Alexander McQueen gown.

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It had been hours since the red carpet, so Wolfgang Puck’s menu of BLTs, parsnip soup, and baked macaroni and cheese made the stars go wild. A dapper Ansel Elgort double-fisted plates of chicken salad as he roamed through the couches of celebrities, and Miles Teller grabbed the same thing, as well as two tumblers of mixed cocktails for him and his head-turning girlfriend, Keleigh Sperry. The chicken pot pie was a big hit: Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer both chowed down on the hearty dish, and Sienna Miller spotted it on a passed tray from afar. “Let’s chug that down, Daddy,” she said to her date, her father.

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And with all the starriest of stars in one room, of course there’s going to be some fabulous interactions. As took the stage for a performance, Marion Cotillard talked with Steve Carell and made plans to see him again soon; Lupita Nyong'o sat with everyone from Selma including its stars, Carmen Ejogo and David Oyelowo. Reese Witherspoon couldn't wait to meet up with friends. "It's just always wonderful to see people who I've worked with before, like Mark Ruffalo, Naomi Watts, and Michael Keaton,” Witherspoon said. “That's always my highlight."

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Of course everybody in the room wanted to see an Oscar up close, and the stars proudly displayed them for all to enjoy. Laura Dern chatted with a winning producer, who showed his new statue to the Wild star and her kids, “Isn’t it beautiful?” she said. But to really see an Oscar, one only had to walk to the back corner of the party, past the decadent chocolate bar filled with artisanal truffles, to the engraving station, where the names of Oscar winners are carved into their trophies on the spot. Every winner paid a visit, including Patricia Arquette, J.K. Simmons, and Common. "It's funny to think it's mine," said the Best Original Song winner.

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When John Legend came by, wife Chrissy Teigen was by his side (after changing from her red carpet gown into an electric purple backless gown). She leaned over and planted a congratulatory kiss on his lips. There were smooches aplenty: Eddie Redmayne gave a peck to his wife, Hannah Bagshawe during his engraving session, and Julianne Moore kissed husband Bart Freundlich after looking at her Oscar and saying “it's perfect.” As Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu left the area with his newly-engraved trophy, he turned to his family and asked, “Is the tequila coming with me?” Because, of course, that's the most important thing.

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As the night went on, Solange Knowles took to the DJ booth to spin throwback hits like "Kiss" by Prince and "Million Dollar Bill" by Whitney Houston, and stars made plans to meet up at after-parties and beyond. Marion Cotillard brushed past us in her Dior gown and said “yes, of course,” that she had to keep going and continue the party off the premises. After all, it was only 11 p.m. and the night was young. To the after-parties they went, but not without being offered a parting gift: A gilded chocolate Oscar boxed up to go.