LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Giddy with joy and liberal with kisses, Oscar's newly crowned stars celebrated late into the night on Sunday, feasting on delicacies ranging from caviar and smoked salmon to burgers with macaroni and cheese.
Clutching golden statuettes under their arms or showing them off for photographers and friends, Academy Award winners joined their empty-handed rivals in sipping champagne at the official Governor's Ball, where they were serenaded by veteran crooner Tony Bennett.
Meryl Streep, celebrating the end of a 30-year dry spell between Oscar victories, showered friends with kisses after winning the third Academy Award of her career for her role as ex-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady".
"I was happy shocked, happy shocked, happy shocked," said a radiant Streep, saying that her latest Oscar win "does not feel real yet."
Christopher Plummer, 82, proudly holding his first ever Oscar, mingled at the Governor's Ball with some 1,500 guests lounging on sofas and nibbling from bite-size morsels of baked potato wrapped in gold with caviar, chocolate mousse and macaroni cheese.
A few miles away, California's famous In-N-Out burgers were served up at the annual Vanity Fair party, regarded as one of the hottest tickets in town on Academy Awards night.
Stars such as Chris Rock, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and record producer Sean "Diddy" Combs hurried down the red carpet in search of food and drink after attending the more than three-hour Oscars show.
British actor Colin Firth, last year's best actor Oscar winner, said that presenting the Academy Award to Streep on Sunday was the "moment of a lifetime."
Sandra Bullock said the ceremony was "a wonderful show," and John Corbett, a former star of the HBO series "Sex and the City" who also co-starred in the 2002 hit film "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," told Reuters that host "Billy Crystal was the best, he should be the annual presenter."
Crystal spent some time at the Governor's Ball but looked tired by the time he reached the Vanity Fair gala around midnight.
"I had a very good time. It was a really beautiful show," he said. Asked if he was relieved it was all over, he replied "Wouldn't you be?"
Glenn Close, a best actress nominee for "Albert Nobbs," said she thought Streep's acceptance speech was "wonderful."
"I think she certainly expressed how we all feel, and she expressed how I feel," Close said at the Vanity Fair bash.
Some stars ventured from party to party in the same sweeping, glamorous gowns they had worn on the Oscars red carpet. But Jennifer Lopez was among those who found time to change.
The actress and "American Idol" judge turned up at the Vanity Fair party in a dark red, plunging V-neck dress that was even more daring than the white striped sheer Zuhair Murad creation that had eyes popping at the Academy Awards telecast.
Writing by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Steve Gorman