By Piya Sinha-Roy
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A sea of Oscar statuettes filled the Governor's Ball on Sunday night as winners chatted, ate and celebrated with the film industry's elite at the official Academy Awards party.
Winners also got their statuettes engraved with their names on the first stop in a string of parties on Hollywood's biggest night.
The Governor's Ball, decked out with walls of curtains made from florals giving the effect of a midnight garden celebration, is hosted by the Oscars organizers.
Singer John Legend provided the entertainment, singing hits including "Ordinary People," while guests ate a gourmet meal by celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck.
An excited John Ridley, winner of best adapted screenplay for "12 Years a Slave," entered the party clutching his Oscar, which he said was "overwhelming and humbling."
"It's heavy, but heavy with the weight of a career and responsibility and history. It's a weight I never thought I would have in my hands," he said.
Ridley celebrated with the cast including Michael Fassbender and Benedict Cumberbatch and producers of the film, which also took home best supporting actress for Lupita Nyong'o and the night's top prize for best picture.
Rising Kenyan star Nyong'o has been the toast of Hollywood this awards season and celebrated her win with her brother and mother Dorothy, who said she was "so happy" for her daughter.
Jonah Hill, accompanied by his mother, shared jokes with Julia Roberts, while Kate Hudson, clad in a cream Versace gown, chatted to Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Leonardo DiCaprio, whose "The Wolf of Wall Street" came away empty-handed at the Oscars, did a quick few rounds of the room before making a swift exit.
June Squibb, who was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar but lost out to Nyong'o, said she was just happy to be at the glitzy show and after party.
"I love every minute of it, I loved sitting there and just feeling like I'm part of it," she said.
Bette Midler, who performed for the first time in her decades-long career at the Academy Awards, said she had fun during her performances and was left a little emotional by it.
Mads Mikkelsen, who was nominated for best foreign film for "The Hunt" but lost out to Italy's "The Great Beauty," was in high spirits, saying "we're here to celebrate the winners and drink beers for the losers."
Steven Price, who won best original score for "Gravity," which took home a leading seven Academy Awards, said getting his Oscar engraved "was one of the most amazing things tonight."
"No one had any idea that the film would connect. We were never sure that a story about a 50-year-old woman in space with very little dialogue would be something that people would go see," Price said.
Elsewhere, pop star Lady Gaga, actress Naomi Watts and Robert De Niro were among the celebrities at the annual Vanity Fair party, while Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian and Heidi Klum turned out for Elton John's Hollywood Oscar event.
(Reporting by Piya Sinha-Roy, editing by Jill Serjeant) nL1N0M00M9
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