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February 19, 2009 9:54 PM

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Slumming It

Every year there are certain parties everyone in Hollywood clamors to get into. The Vanity Fair party the night of the show. Variety’s the night before. Both of those are on this year, and wrangling tickets is harder than...

Every year there are certain parties everyone in Hollywood clamors to get into. The Vanity Fair party the night of the show. Variety’s the night before. Both of those are on this year, and wrangling tickets is harder than ever — Vanity Fair, insiders say, cut the list nearly in half as it downsized from Morton’s to The Sunset Tower Hotel.

But the other event that’s likely to be a seriously hot ticket is Fox Searchlight’s Sunday night party. The reason? “Slumdog Millionaire.”

With Nate Silver predicting in New York Magazine that the film has a 99 percent chance of winning the Oscar and (most people in Hollywood are in agreement with him) that puts the studio in a different sort of hot seat, the one everyone wants to be in. Further, Fox Searchlight and its chairman, Peter Rice, are also coming off the success of “The Wrestler.” And that movie’s lead actor, Mickey Rourke, seems to be in a race with Sean Penn of “Milk” for Best Actor.

Two years ago, Rice bought “Little Miss Sunshine” for $10 million, and it went on to gross $60 million in domestic receipts. Then he and Fox Searchlight acquired “Juno,” and it did $143 million.

So Rice is establishing himself as a kind of young Harvey Weinstein. And lots of people will want to kiss the ring. Or just see those cute stars from “Slumdog” in the flesh.

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