The Reliable Source Live

Feb 27, 2013

Washington Post columnists Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts were online Wednesday, February 27, at noon ET to discuss your favorite gossip, celebrity sightings and their recent columns.

Past Reliable Source chats

Hello, and welcome back to the Reliable Source weekly chat. Some things on our radar lately. . .

 

The Oscars have come and gone, and now you’re wondering who Seth offended, why Kristen was limping, what Affleck said about his marriage and why Michelle Obama was there.

 

Also: Everyone is now in love with Jennifer Lawrence.

 

Back in D.C.: Is there something going around? Another politician, Pete Domenici, confesses he has a secret child — who has the pedigree of a future politician himself.

 

Laura Bush objects to being included in a same-sex marriage ad.

 

Elizabeth Warren puts down roots in Penn Quarter.

 

Michael Saylor invests in a new yacht: Third time’s the charm?

 

And Dennis Rodman marches on North Korea.

 

In other news: Cupcake lady has baby. So does Wiz Khalifa. Josh Brolin and Diane Lane — we saw that coming, right? Janet Jackson got married and didn’t even tell us.

 

Looking forward to your questions.

Just wanted to note that I thought Ben Affleck's acknowledgement that marriage is hard work (Sunday night at the Oscars) was one of the most mature, sincere and loving things that one spouse has made to another from an award show stage. The fact that people think that he would be "sleeping on the couch" because of it makes me despair.

It was very sweet, and kind of startling. (We've got his comments from his Oscar speech here. ) And I agree, the notion that he'd get in trouble with the wife for those sentiments is kind of silly. No one else knows what's going on inside another couple's relationship, but I would guess that, whatever's been going on there, these were things he felt he needed to say.

What did you think of her appearance on the Oscars? Has there been another First Lady with so much television time? And that beautiful dress, does she keep it? Do you think she can become Secretary of State?

Something that wasn't really clear to Oscar viewers is that the first lady was all dressed up in part because of the White House's governors' dinner that was going on that night.

 

What to make of her appearance at the Oscars? Ah, so many questions. The prevailing theory is that she did it because it was fun. But there may have been some obliviousness to the role she was playing in a messy web of Hollywood insider favor-trading.

I might be the only person who found Seth Macfarlane doing the Boob Song as comical.

I heard a lot of people say they liked it. I was waiting, blithely assuming there would be a second part of the song called "We saw your junk," which would turn it all into a witty and complex commentary on Hollywood double standards -- but I guess he didn't have it in him. So it all fell to this random guy to make his own song.

With the ode-to-losers ditty at the end of this years Oscars, I didn't recall hearing that blurb about 'ballots counted by our accounting firm and results are sealed and only revealed on the telecast.' I somehow suspect the Oscar producers were clued in that "Argo" would win. Any whispers about this? I read it would have been embarrassing if Michelle Obama announced the best picture Oscar and it was "Zero Dark Thirty" -- even more disconcerting if she announced "Django Unchained," disconcerting but hilarious.

It was live, and a guy from the accounting firm was at White House and handed her the envelope. (Besides, the race was always between "Lincoln" and "Argo".)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/michelle-obamas-oscar-presentation-raises-questions-about-the-role-of-a-first-lady/2013/02/25/a67b701a-7f95-11e2-8074-b26a871b165a_story.html

Where? What kind of food? What is the dress code?

Just don't upstage the guest of honor by wearing red shoes. . . . Jason Horowitz has a nice story about the what the pope's retirement life will be like.

I am a white conservative Republican woman, and I love Michelle Obama. I think she's a great mother and a fantastic champion for the fight against childhood obesity (pro-exercise and pro-eating right). I love the way she looks almost all of the time, like her bangs, and thought she looked fantastic at the Oscars. I am very annoyed at Courtland Milloy for his rant against her. She is definitely her husband's best asset.

Noted. Not everybody felt the same about the first lady and the Oscars, which is why so many people are still talking about it.

Has there been any reaction from Domenici's former Senate colleague, Paul Laxalt, about the whole thing?

Nope. Pete Domenici and Michelle Laxalt both issued their statements to the Albuquerque Journal, but neither Paul Laxalt (Michelle's father) nor Adam Laxalt (Michelle's son by Domenici) are talking. Meanwhile, though we want to respect his privacy, it will be noted that Adam Laxalt appears to be very handsome.

He wasnt that bad. Can we get Ricky Gervais to host next year

Seth wasn't that good -- although I think I'm one of the very few who liked the "Flight" hand puppet bit. I'd pay money to see Ricky host next year. 

Shouldnt there be a Pope Hall of Fame?

Or a Pope Hall of Shame? Lots of contenders for both.

The Oscars picked Seth MacFarlane to host because they knew you'd be talking about it for quite some time. Just what they wanted you to do.

They picked him hoping he'd attract younger viewers. Which he might have ---but doubt he'll be asked back.

You know, Anne Hathaway was not nearly as annoying as I expected her to be.

I agree. I think she took some pointers from Kate Winslet, whose actressy faux-shocked awards acceptances were annoying people through the early weeks of 2009 -- but who got it under control by the time of the Oscars. My only complaint is that her speech, while sweet and heartfelt, was the same old ticking off of names. But that's what everyone was doing this year, save for the delightful Daniel Day Lewis.

 

By the way, in my story about nine Oscar speeches that changed the course of history, I failed to note that the major legacy of Streep's actressy faux-shocked stylings was Taylor Swift and the actressy faux-shocked acceptances she delivered for her first 10 or 15 awards.

Could you provide a chart or some other visual aid? This confuses me, what with a legal "dad", a biological "dad", etc.

This is very simple. Michelle Laxalt, unmarried, had a son in 1978 and never told anyone who the father was. We now know that the father was Sen. Pete Domenici.

I wore pajamas.

Perfect. I wore jeans and made Oscar cookies.

Eggs Benedict, naturally!

Natch.

That was a good, if somewhat confounding, portrait of John McCain. And, very amusing, sometimes unintentionally so. He can't wrap his mind around the very idea that Chuck Hagel's wife would have different political leanings or her own thoughts and ideas. Dont' women ALWAYS vote like their husbands???

Here is Jason Horowitz's profile: Republican senator John McCain is still raising questions and hackles, 2/20/13

Don't overthink the part about Hagel's wife or assume sexism on McCain's part. As the story noted, McCain was very good friends with Hagel, and probably assumed that friendship included Hagel's wife and thus was surprised that she didn't support him for president.

 

At first, I didn't think that there was much of an issue with Michelle Obama presenting an Oscar. But , on second thought, I think that there were two things wrong. First, the military should never be used as props. I look at the photo of the service members in formal dress uniforms, reduced to extras, and I wince. The looming presence of the sequester's effect on the military makes it even worse. Second, Mrs. Obama simply reinforced the notion that Hollywood and the Obama White House are simpatico, two sides of one coin, with money and influence flowing freely back and forth. Just try to picture Laura Bush being asked to present an Oscar, and you can see the image problem.

Honestly, I CAN imagine Laura Bush being there. But I was surprised to see Michelle on the broadcast because of all the Hollywood-liberal-Democrats stereotypes.

Is she the only "local" this time?

No, she has a fellow Baltimorean on the show -- Ravens wide receiver Jacoby Jones.

But did he know??? And, why is this coming out now. I had more or less forgot Pete Domenici existed.

We have not determined when, exactly, he discovered the identity of his father. Interesting to guess whether it was before or after his troubled teenage years.

and everyone will have an opinion. My bottom line is, they hired Seth MacFarlane! He has made quite a good living being crass and tactless and edgy. What were people expecting? If they were hoping for clever, witty and classy, they would have hired someone else. Obviously, they wanted to appeal to a specific audience. Did it work?

The ratings were significantly up, especially among young people. I have no idea how much of that has to do with the Seth MacFarlane factor. (I know his shows have a big following, but does he?) I also think the academy got a lot better about PR, especially social-media/interactive. They've put a lot of old clips on YouTube and created an amazing database of old speeches, which inspired a lot of stories from reporters and bloggers.

I used to think he was a twit. Now I kind of like him. He seems like a grownup.

I have to agree -- looks like he finally may be growing up. But, then again, we're talking about actors here, so there's really no telling. But I want to believe Matt Damon comes over every so often to smack some sense in Ben. Matt always seemed like a grown-up.

What's not to like about the sock puppets? It was one of Seth's few noncontroversial bits, and it was funny! Especially the socks going around in the dryer.

Made me laugh.

I will say, though, that her mention to her husband was lovely. She said the best moment of her life was the one he walked into it. That's a really nice thought, and she seemed super sincere when she said it. Given her past, it's nice that she's found someone good to be happy with.

Maybe it stood out because she's sounded so insincere in all the other speech moments. By the way, anyone else notice her very public apology yesterday to designer Valentino? She was supposed to wear one of his dresses Sunday night, but switched to the awful Prada at the last minute. Actresses change their minds all the time, so something nasty must have happened after the  fact for her to grovel  about the switch.

I was hoping, when I saw the dryer scene, that all of the nominations would be introduced with sock puppets. Imagine my disappointment when that didn't happen.

That would have been really, really great.

Remind me -- who is he and why was he hosting a four hour broadcast in front of millions of people?

You see, I thought that was a strange choice, too. As I just said, I know his shows have a big following, but does he? He's the behind-the-scenes guy on those shows. And while I know he's hosted some celebrity roasts, etc., this is a much bigger stage. Hank Stuever gave him a mixed review, calling it "an Oscar show hosted by someone who waited until Oscar night to discover that he’s only so-so at stand-up comedy."

 

His big mistake, in my view, went beyond the crass humor he's supposedly known for. He tried to make it into this winking, meta thing where he could fall back on "oh, I'm only making fun of myself and my reputation for crass humor and the likelihood I'll get trashed for it." The problem with that is that it's a major in-joke. The vast majority of people watching don't know who he is or what his reputation is, and thus just don't really get it. It was a little self-absorbed and clueless that way. He had a big opportunity to turn himself into a big-stage entertainer (he's got a presence and a good voice, etc.), but he would have had to go out there and do something fresh and really own the material, rather than making it all about himself.

 

We can have a whole 'nother discussion about the crassness of the material someday.

Except when he broke up with Minnie Driver on Oprah.

I forgot about that.

He still seemed a bit like a twit to me. He is a much better director than actor. I think he should stay behind the camera.

Well, now he probably will.

While I respect that he didn't have a need to speak at the Oscars -- despite winning Best Picture -- is it me or is he starting to show his age? He was looking like Christoph Waltz's uncle or something.

Stipulated: When you grow a beard, and that beard comes in gray, yes, that ages a man.

Also stipulated: Yes, he's aging, but for crying out loud, aren't we all?

This is the discussion that's more often applied to Hollywood women, and it's kind of goofy. They show up looking like their natural selves, and the reaction is "oh my god, they're letting themselves go! They're getting old! Look at those wrinkles, what is her problem!" And if they show up with the fresh dose of Botox that 95 percent of them have, then everyone says "oooohh, she's totally had Botox -- BUSTED!"

You said: "Honestly, I CAN imagine Laura Bush being there." Well, she was First Lady for 8 years, and never once was she asked to present at the Oscars. Seriously, you can see Harvey Weinstein going to the effort of getting a Republican First Lady involved as he did for Michelle Obama? I can't, sorry, because he wouldn't have had any motive to do so, as he does with Mrs. Obama. And I think that the Hollywood audience would have booed Laura Bush if she had presented. Just being realistic about it.

Booed? Maybe her husband at the height of the Iraq war, but not the first lady. That seems beyond the pale. But you may be right about Hollywood not asking a Republican first lady. 

Does the Pope have some sort of 401K plan or something to keep him living the good life in retirement? Seems Italy's economy is a little hard up with all the retirees and the aging work force. Just hope he will be OK.

I'm sure the answer is somewhere in this story. Take a look and let us know: Departing Pope Benedict’s daily activities shrouded in mystery

Blech. Her speech(es), the pink dress, the dis of Valentino. I didn't see Les Miz in part because I can't stand to watch her on screen, and didn't want to keep looking down her throat (I saw the long preview too many times while waiting for other movies this fall) past all those big teeth. I wish she'd just go away for a while, like Natalie Portman has done.

She already announced she's taking a break for six months -- which I suspect is not long enough for you.

What was the deal with all the tributes to Chicago during the Oscars. Entertaining movie, but one of the more forgettable Best Pictures in recent history.

Ha. From Hank's review:

Worse news: “Tonight, for the first time, the Oscars have a theme,” MacFarlane announced in his opening monologue. “We will be celebrating music in film.”

Oh, for the love of Pete. Must we?

It couldn’t be stopped, as the Academy Awards tried to win a Tony. The show, which ran past 3 ½hours, was produced by Neil Meron and Craig Zadan, two guys who have brought us things like NBC’s irreparable Broadway drama “Smash” and the movie musical “Hairspray.” And so, from mite-sized theater imp Kristin Chenoweth’s icky-sweet red-carpet patter for ABC’s pre-show (Adele, you have our permission to sit on her until she stops moving) to the protracted musical medley from “Chicago,” “Dreamgirls” and — I had to leave the room — “Les Miserables,” this was the Oscars by and for showfolk.

Yes, and in addition to that, it was also the 10th anniversary of "Chicago's" Best Picture Win, which I know must make you nostalgic.

Its great that she's happy, but whenever someone makes a declaration like that now at an awards show I hold my breath as I think they are courting disaster. Call it the Sandra Bullock effect.

That's just painful to think about.

The phrase "Dennis Rodman's Goodwill Mission" seems slightly oxymoronic, Maybe he's a bigger deal over there, but I wouldn't want him near MY kids! I doubt it will generate much good will, and I hope they don't think that's what all Americans are like. Come to think of it, NBA players are probably not the best example as a group.

Oxymoronic? Of course, but it definitely got everyone's attention. Enough to make you tune into the HBO documentary?

I've not been a fan (I'm in the he's-a-twit camp), and I don't like beards. He was very hot in Argo. Maybe because I'm old enough to remember the hostage crisis and am nostalgic for the late 70s, when I had a more interesting social life.

Ha! Me, too! Despite all those terrible clothes.

Have we had a chance to discuss this. How can one little ferret on the face make a man not be as sexy as Clooney usually is.

It the color---so white that it aged him. Maybe if he'd dyed it. But that's not really his style.

We watch to snarkily critique the host, the winners, the musical numbers. We watch hoping to see a wardrobe malfunction. We watch to see people famous for being composed come unglued. It's a little like NASCAR, in that we are hoping for a wreck.

Exactly. I would also echo the wise words of Mr. Dan  Zak on that point. . . Having said that, I do feel that this show didn't have much in the way of talker moments. No one wears anything crazy anymore, they haven't since stylists got involved 15 years ago. And the terribly polite speeches aren't what they used to be, frankly.

Is she as much of a lumpkin in real life as she presents in public?

Lumpkin? She's a tiny little thing (4'11") with a huge voice and annoying cheerifulness that seems forced but may be real. I think of her like one of those toy dogs: You either think they're adorable or really annoying.

I am a huge fan of our FLOTUS, but I can think of no fathomable reason for her to announce the Best Picture Oscar. What was that really about?

Best theory at the end of the day: A bunch of Hollywood guys rigged up this scheme to impress each other, and she agreed because she thought it would be fun. Read Krissah Thompson's excellent story on Michelle's Oscar moment.

It cracked me up! But not too many others did.

The "Sound of Music" bit was very, very good.

I remember one particularly gray-ish blue outfit - corduroy midi length skirt and a velour zip-up baseball jacket thing. Awful. And then came the Dress for Success era with the little bow ties for women. It was doubly amazing that Ben was hot in that movie. He should keep the beard, until it goes all gray like George's.

Don't getme started on bad '70's fashion or we'll be here all day.

The girl who was in "Princess Diaries" and "Ella Enchanted" has made quite a career for herself.

She did -- and was charming in those movies. Maybe she's stop running for Hollywood class president now and just act.

Does Jack Nicholson just naturally get the front row center, whether he has made any movies lately or not? How does that work - so all Oscar winners get guaranteed seats. Doubting Anna Paquin and Adrian Brody would get the same placement.

Nicholson, though, has THREE Oscars. And, he's Jack Nicholson. Trying to remember exactly how this works. I asked Virginia Madsen on the red carpet a few years ago, and she explained that if you're a past nominee, then you become a voting member and you're in a lottery system for seats (i.e., you don't automatically get them). I would guess that major-category winners have more status in that system, though unclear who gets an automatic seat.

Amy, enjoyed your posts and those of the rest of the staff. I find myself the morning after asking --why did I watch the whole thing, but know I'll probably do the same thing next year. The Oscars is likea bag of potato chips or a quart of ice cream, not very nutritious but yummy at the time.

Oh, it's about as nutritious as any TV. It gives us a lot to talk about. It's one of those few remaining communal viewing experiences, where everyone is watching at the same time. And the build-up to the show (assessing the nominees, trying to see all the movies, filling out your Oscar pool ballot) is as much fun as the big game itself.

Here's what I know about her......decent actress, and I've liked some of the movies she's been in. Very attractive. Married to some guy. Won an Oscar and Golden Globe. May not be the best at giving acceptance speeches. That's about it. Certainly not enough for me to hate her. So why do so many others?

A lack, I think, of sincerity. The opposite of Jennifer Lawrence, who seems very real. Whether she is or not is another question. It's all about perceptions. 

Does he have some sort of compulsion because of how his name sounds? And does he ever use them?

I get the impression that he uses them but that he also leases them out for charter. So maybe they're as much an investment as they are a plaything.

Nice to see that photoshopping works in Iran

You just mixed up Kristen Stewart with Kristen Chenoweth. Too bad you weren't an Oscar presenter -- we would be talking about you for the next two weeks.

Ha! Guilty as charged! 

Kristen Stewart: Multimillionaire actress despite having only one expression. Go figure.

WAS BRILLIANT. I was laughing so hard, people were moving away from me on the Metro!

Aw, thank you. I can't deny the fact that you like me. Right now, you like me!

I have nothing against her except that she always looks so darn miserable. Even when she smiles, she looks pained. And I saw few "where was Rob" posts. Does this mean her time has passed?

Maybe. Maybe she's just bored. Maybe acting isn't her thing. But she's got enough money to do anything she wants, so I hope she finds it.

Ben Affleck goes loony and incoherent while accepting his award, while JLaw FALLS ON HER FACE, then delivers a calm, self-deprecating acceptance. Unlike most other stars who act as if they're from another planet, she has the astonishing knack of seeming utterly approachable and yet above all the nonsense ("If I drank four beers, I'd hurl" is perhaps the most disarming way to quash a hard-partying rumor that I've seen in quite a while). Most stars don't figure it out until they're much older, if ever. Why wouldn't everyone love her?

I gotta say -- Jennifer Lawrence has a poise and comfort in her own skin that we all would have envied at that age, or any age. It's a kind of ease and spontaneity and charisma that goes beyond what you see in the best actors; it's a characteristic of the best politicians.

She was a judge on Top Chef, showed up on numerous kids shows, ......

Anyone else have some opinions on this?

I think it could work.

Could indeed---and he could get away with a lot of the insidery jokes.

I think it is GREAT that she is having some fun.

I thought there might be some opinions on this.

I think you mixed up your Kristens, Roxanne. Stewart is Twilight, Chenoweth is twee.

I confess. Uncle.

A guy named Horowitz writing about the pope? There's gotta be a joke in there somewhere.

Jason Horowitz speaks fluent Italian, which serves him well in Vatican City.

He's joining a monastery. How hard is that to understand? They will feed him. He won't need many clothes. Elderly monks in declining health spend their time in prayer. Christians consider prayer an important job. Sheesh.

And more time with cats on his lap. The Pope loves cats, which is one of the few things I found endearing about him.

"Cupcake lady has baby. So does Wiz Khalifa. Josh Brolin and Diane Lane — we saw that coming, right?" I thought Josh and Diane had a baby! Turns out they're divorcing.

Nothing misleading there (nor was there a headline). We did not imply a connection to the previous sentence. (Plus, which was more plausible for the two of them at this point, divorce or a baby?) But yes, glad you clicked through.

If you look at where a normal body would end, the only way the dress doesn't have two feet dragging on the ground is that Jennifer must be wearing stilts for shoes. Are there any pictures showing the shoes?

Haven't seen one -- but now I'm curious.

"I somehow suspect the Oscar producers were clued in that "Argo" would win. Any whispers about this?" I happened to catch a red-carpet interview earlier in the day with the two accountants who were in charge of the tabulating, etc. Obviously, they didn't hint at Michelle Obama's appearance, but they did make very clear that only the two of them knew the results and that they guarded the envelopes very carefully (as usual).

True, I believe all that. But anyone who had been following the progression of precursor awards this year (the Golden Globes, the SAGs, the PGAs, the DGAs, etc. etc. etc.) could see it was very clear which way Hollywood was leaning. There was next to no chance that "Zero Dark Thirty" or "Django Unchained" or anything arguably controversial was going to take the big prize this year.

George did say he flew directly from Berlin where he was filming some movie. Hopefully that's it.

We shall see soon enough. He's willing to look bad/fat/old for role.

Not me! She's 22. It's much too early to tell whether she was acting or lucky. Emanuelle Riva should have won.

Ah, the backlash begins! I actually think Emmaneuelle Riva should have won too. Jennifer Lawrence was a beacon of burning starpower in "Silver Linings Playbook" (really, about the only thing I liked about the movie) -- but if you've seen "Amour," you know Emmanuelle Riva was working at a much higher level of difficult in that role.

The tote board totals for sexual shenanigans sure seems weighted to the GOP side. Why does the right wing have such trouble keeping their pants zipped?

Anthony Weiner, anyone? John Edwards? Eliot Spitzer? I think there's been remarkable cross-aisle, bipartisan cooperation in keeping the political sex scandal industry alive.

She auditioned for the part in Silver Linings Playbook from her parents' home in Louisville, via skype. This is an Oscar nominated actress who has no problem auditioning for a part via skype from her parents' home in Louisville. Who doesn't love that?

It also says she's that good or the audition was a formality.

Aren't we due for a Hot Pope? The past two haven't exactly been dreamy.

Oh, but in their younger years, they were quite dashing.

I don't know whether or not she needed to be a part of the Oscars but I do know she looked fabulous! She is on the best-dressed list with Jessica Chastain, Kerry Washington and Nicole Kidman.

More opinions. . . .

Daniel Day-Lewis was my surprise of the night. He's usually so buttoned up I wasn't expecting (for him) breezy patter. As for Streep, my favorite speech from her was accepting the Emmy for "Angels In America", something along the lines of "There are time when even I think I'm overrated...BUT NOT TODAY!".

Yes, D-Day killed, didn't he? It's that dry, well-paced delivery, plus the fact that you don't expect him to be the funny one that made him so effective. . . . And yes, they should create an international prize for Best Awards Show Acceptance Speech and call it The Meryl. She has really honed that particular form of rhetoric into a work of art.

I'd be willing to bet the service members' parents didn't wince once. They were probably beaming with pride. Props? Hardly. It was a chance to show off some of our nation's best before one of the largest TV audiences of the year.

More opinions. . .

I thought they were 3 legit funny bits: 1) socks in the dryer 2) Sound of Music "they're gone!" 3) "No introduction" for Meryl Streep. Was Bruce Vilanch involved this year, or was it all Family Guy writers?

Apparently he brought in his own writers this year.

Hollywood loves characters with challenges (see, e.g. "Rain Man", et. al.) Jennifer Lawrence's character had a mental illness (something that Hollywood romanticizes and botches - how could anyone with Matt Damon's Borderline Personality Disorder in Good Will Hunting be "cured" after 3 sessions with a therapist, even one played by Robin Williams?), Emanuelle Riva was merely dying a horrible death, quite convincingly, after 2 strokes. And was still in love with her husband. Blech. Among the only years I can remember not being angry about the Best Actress winners were years involving Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson and Juliette Binoche. I used to feel so duped by this; now I'm grateful for the internet so I don't have to watch anything other than the sock puppets.

Good points --all.

I generally really like Kristin Chenowith but she as a chirpy bobble-head at the Oscars.

We all commented when she did the show-closing song: How can someone with such a delightful singing voice have such an annoying speaking voice?

First Lady Hillary Clinton was pilloried for trying to do something worthwhile as first lady (universal health care). Laura Bush was more low-key in her activism, but both seemed pretty unhappy during their time in the White House. Instead of retreating after getting torn a new one for trying to get America to get off its butt and eat more healthy foods, Michelle Obama could have retreated, but keeps putting herself out there. I cannot imagine what it must be like to live in that fishbowl and worry daily about the safety of your spouse and children, so if Michelle wants to do frivolous things from time to time to try and enjoy her non-elected position, I'm all for it.

Another opinion.

I am a DC liberal, Obama-supporting, political wonk. And I am ticked that Michelle Obama was on the Oscars. I saw her and the military and immediately started thinking about this idiot Congress and the terrible wars... To paraphrase Arthur Miller, You've taken my soult! Leave me my entertainment!

Another view.

I'm curious if you think that Kathryn Bigelow and her film "Zero Dark Thirty" were snubbed at the Oscars for political reasons. Bigelow is rapidly becoming one of America's finest directors, and a world-class director of war films, and I'm amazed that she was snubbed. Your thoughts?

This has been debated endlessly and I'm not sure anyone knows the answer to it. The same could be asked of Ben Affleck, and yet clearly there was much love for that movie. (Trivia: I believe this is only the second time in history that has movie has won Best Picture without a Best Director nomination. But do tell me if I'm wrong.) . . . I suspect it had more to do with voters wanting to pull for their dark-horse favorites while assuming they didn't need to waste a vote on frontrunners  Bigelow and Affleck --  and then, at the end, it turned out that plenty of voters had made that calculation in favor of Benh Zeitlan or Michael Hanecke, whose nominations were a surprise.

The worst bit was, " The Sound of Music", Von Trapp Family set-up with a Nazi coming out. Why couldn't anyone see how seriously wrong this kind of "humor" is ? Also do you think Marky Mark knew how much of the butt of a joke he was made for duoing with Ted ?

Now, I liked that bit, because it was a beat-for-beat reference to a beloved old movie scene, right down to the Nazi guard. I don't know, do you have a problem with that part of "Sound of Music"?

I would love to be at that Thanksgiving table.

Yeah, sign me up.

It's for a part, I read. But I'm wondering if he's also trying to get the lead in the Paul Krugman bio pic.

HA.

So have they just decided to go over the top and make up as far-fetched plot lines as possible? I love this show, but there is really nowhere else to go, unless we find out that Olivia Pope is actually a secret agent working on behalf of a distant alien group that is going to attack Earth. And if so, that would be awesome.

I have missed the past couple of weeks, so if you told me that it turns out Olivia Pope is actually a secret agent working on behalf of a distant alien group that is going to attack Earth, I wouldn't be surprised. That show is bonkers, beyond soap opera, a high-camp fever dream.

Michelle Obama grew up in a poor family, but one with two parents. She herself is one of two parents. I would love to see her focus on single motherhood in the black community, especially single teenage mothers, and its effects on childhood poverty. That's something that I think everyone can unite behind, regardless of party.

More opinions. . . .

It upped his recognition level for sure, before the telecast I thought he was the other Seth, the one with curly hair that used to be heavy but not isn't so much. Although can't say my impression was positive, I do know who he is now.

You mean, Seth Rogen? Ha. Yes, exactly. That was the problem with his shtick, his smug assumption that everyone knew all about him.

Do you remember Meryl Streep's dress a few years ago? Sort of a blue tent thing? I think Prada goes out of its way to bring an Iron Curtain, Eastern European vibe to fashion. And Anne Hathaway's necklace was all wrong for that high-bodice dress. I just don't understand the love of Prada.

Oh, I liked her backwards necklace trick.

I, for one, love him and Jennifer Garner together. From the outside, they look like a normal couple, taking their kids to school, karate, ballet, for coffee, etc. And they seem to really be in love. I hope their marriage lasts.

"From the outside" . . . Nice sentiments, I agree, but you know, we really know nothing about any of these people from what we see through the lens of Santa Monica paparazzi.

Who I thought looked great was Jane Fonda, and loved the bright yellow gown. She stood out from the crowd.

Yes, she always turns it out well.

When was Bjork's swan dress? This is all making me miss Cher and Bob Mackie. There was something wonderful - even if unintentional - about the clothes in the 70s.

I agree. Remember that terrible thing Demi Moore work, like 25 years ago, where it was a voluminous train around a pair of bike shorts? And I think Geena Davis turned up in a hoop skirt one year, or something like that. And then the stylists got involved, sigh.

Seemed a bit short this year. They didn't have room for Sylvia Kristel?

Lots of baffling omissions. And sadly not a lot of love for Dutch softcore film stars.

So what's the real story on Renee Zellweger at the Oscars? Rumors are that she was drunk, but she seemed more loopy to me.

She was getting a lot of abuse heaped on her for clearly having some cosmetic injections, and it's like HELLO, every woman in that room has done the same thing. But it was more her affect that I found startling. It looked like she needed Richard Gere to prop her up and that she was having trouble focusing her eyes.

Didn't her cheek bones look bigger and better than before?

Maybe. It could be that at 40 her remarkable layer of age-defying facial baby fat is finally melting away, revealing in its absence an equally enviable pair of cheekbones.

Scuttlebutt is that she realized Amanda Seyfried was wearing remarkably similar dress. Many comparisons on line and they were similar so Anne switched.

Her apology including something about learning that someone else would be out there in a similar dress, so she changed plans.

Best Oscar dress ever was the black and white dress that Julia Rogers wore for her Oscar win. It was vintage Dior, IIRC. She looked like a billion dollars in it.

That was a nice dress.

was when Jack Palance fell to the floor and did one-arm pushups to show how youthful he is. The publicists/spokespeople have ruined Hollywood and Washington.

Well, as I argued last week, Jack Palance did inspire some other Oscar showboaters -- Adrian Brody, Cuba Gooding Jr. , Roberto  Benigni. . .

Thought the Chris Brown Rihanna joke was hilarious

I laughed and then loathed myself for laughing.

Did you miss the episode in which Mellie hid a pod under her husband's bed, and Olivia attached a spider-like creature to Edison's back, or Quinn and Huck were reading To Serve Man? And David Rosen asked Abby to go to the Ellipse and say "Klaatu Barada Nikto?"

You see, I can't tell if you're joking or not.

Well, this has been fun! Time to do the heavy lifting we get paid for, though, so scamper off to lunch the rest of you and start thinking about things we can talk about next week when the Oscars will be too distant in our rearview mirrors. Until then, keep in touch at reliablesource@washpost.com

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