Mar 03, 2011

Join Celebritology blogger Jen Chaney to gab about the latest celebrity gossip and pop culture news making waves across the Web.

Here we are, in the first Celebritology chat of the post-Liz Kelly era. (I for one desperately miss Liz already.)

But we shall soldier on and discuss the Oscars, the Charlie Sheens and whatever else is on your mind.

Ready? Here we go.

I think the main problem with this year's hosts was that neither of them seemed to have a great sense of humor, or at least one they could react to funny things off the cuff. Billy Crystal was a master of this, even though he was an actor. I think the host needs to be older and wiser to possess this ability (or at least that is what my review of the last 15 or so hosts reveals). Oh and I think James Franco was simply exhausted, not necessarily high. He said on the pre-show interview that he had only been practicing on weekends for the show and had been going to school all week long during that time. That's just crazy. Hosting the Oscars has to be a full-time gig, at least for the month leading up to it.

I think you're right about the ability to be funny off the cuff. Crystal is an actor, yes, but he's also a veteran comedian and has those skills.

Hugh Jackman, while not a comedian, also was not bad. He's not necessarily Mr. Hilarity, but he makes up for it with charm and definitely being smooth on his feet.

Re: Franco -- I don't think he was high either. His reps have said as much. I think he definitely overcommitted himself and it probably finally backed him on him -- that, and hosting just may not be his strong suit.

I don't know that the host needs to be older necessarily, but I think someone with a strong background in comedy and live theater is an enormous help. The aforementioned Jackman and Crystal both have that.

And so do other people.

Am I a terrible, terrible person for finding Charlie Sheen really entertaining right now? Obviously I don't want to be anywhere near him, and I hope he figures out that he needs to get help and soon- but in the meantime, the man has just been so incredibly, creatively insane.

I wrote something to this effect yesterday, as did New York Magazine -- he is admittedly entertaining but also tragic at the same time.  It's hard to decide how to feel about the whole thing.

So some people just decide it's all awful and ignore it. As a Celebritology blogger, I do not have that luxury. Besides, Sheen might tweet something really interesting. And I can't miss *that,* can I?

Hey Jen, I'm sure you'll do a great job taking the helm at Celebritology. I'm sure I'm in the minority here, but I've stopped reading the blog because I was mainly interested in the Rumor Mill and celebrity gossip. Can you clarify if the blog will continue to be pop culture focused or if it will go back to the more celebrity gossip base? It would save me the trouble of looking for the Daily Mix every morning. I'll continue to join in the Discussion chats!

Hey there. I'm still trying to get my time zones on straight after having just returned from the west coast.

But I can tell you that Celebritology will continue to cover entertainment news of all kinds, both the pop culture stuff and the more celeb-oriented stories. We do still publish a daily mix and I intend to continue doing that.

I'll do my best to make it as robust as possible. But I'll also ask for a little indulgence as well -- I'm now doing the job of two people blog-wise, plus other elements of my job (writing for print, taking care of some other things online, etc.) So things may be a little bumpy for a bit while I get settled, but I certainly want this to be a place where you can come for celebrity news.

And I welcome your feedback at all times, negative and positive --

Who were *you* wearing?

I honestly don't know what the label of the dress of my Oscar dress said. All I know is I got it at Macy's and it was discounted down to $45 or something ridiculous. So pretty much a no-brainer.

Raise your hand if you're really tired of hearing about:<br> a. Charlie Sheen <br> b. Lindsay Lohan <br> c. Justin Bieber <br> Not necessarily in that order.<br> ... Hand raised in California ...

I hear you, California. I am sure someone/something new will emerge any minute now...

Hi Jen, I really enjoyed the Oscar chat! I would love to see Dan as your new partner. Any chance of that happening? Does he have a degree in Celebritology?

Dan is definitely great, and I think he certainly qualifies.

Problem is a. I'm not sure I am getting a new partner at all. And b. Dan has an extraordinarily awesome job as a Style reporter, in which he gets to write about all kinds of things, not just celebrities and entertainment. So I suspect he's rather happy where he is.

I'm interested in seeing the veil pulled back on Bai Ling's actions. But Salahi? Ugh. I think America needs rehab from her and her awful husband! What a typically classes, way for her to extend her 15 minutes and try to get people to like her. Gross.

This is where I get a demerit on my Celebritology report card, but I am not a huge fan of those shows. So I don't know if I can even sit through a single ep of Celebrity Rehab, although I may have to for work.

I realize how flagrantly ridiculous that last sentence sounds.

I noticed that a number of stars walked the red carpet solo at the Oscars or even attended solo, and was just wondering why is that? e.g., Hilary Swank's agent/lover/whatever was in the audience, but didn't walk the red carpet; neither Natalie Portman nor Reese Witherspoon had their new fiances there, and Natalie's ballet dancer guy was at all the other awards shows; we didn't even see Katy Perry, and I didn't think she was one to shy away from any kind of limelight. And did Natalie Portman not thank the ballet dancer guy this time? Hope she's not suffering from the PRE-Oscar winner relationship curse, as they seemed sweet together.

I didn't get a chance to talk to Witherspoon or Portman on the carpet. It's possible that their fiances opted to skip that portion of the evening since it is kind of a drag if you're not the one doing the interviews.

As for Katy Perry, she has been touring and I think she flew in overnight just so she could get there in time for Oprah's post-Oscar show. So I think she bailed due to other commitments, as opposed to a lack of desire to accompany husband Russell Brand.

Is Natallie Portman already experiencing the Oscar curse? She didn't thank her significant other in her Oscar speech, did she?

Actually, I thought she did mention Benjamin Millepied in her speech. If I am mistaken and she didn't, I wouldn't read too much into that. Although I am sure everyone will.

Fill me in - has this guy been wrongfully targeted by the tabs as a psycho against Dianna Agron, or is he really a bad guy deserving of scorn?

Unclear. There have been reported rumors about Pettyfer, and how he was allegedly banned from one of the Oscar parties because he has been behaving in an erratic manner, particularly toward Agron.

No idea whether this is true or untrue. If it is, it's a shame he's starting the in-the-limelight portion of his career on such a bad note.

...Is that after the awful Frano-Hathaway stint, they will fall back on ultra hacky Billy Crystal or Whoopi Goldberg. Obviously the show needs a comedian to MC - but I hope they look for someone with more zing/unpredictability. I'm not a huge Robin Williams or Jim Carrey fan , but either of them would provide comedy chops, star power and the ability to ad lib when needed.

They would. They might also overwhelm the show.

I don't know, I can very much see them going back to Crystal or Hugh Jackman, as I reported earlier this week.

Crystal can be a little hacky, I suppose, but I think he's a pretty solid, dependable Oscar host. And they may be wanting solid and dependable after all their attempts at experimentation in recent years.

Again? How did I miss this? Was there infidelity again? Does this mean she will slink back to the UK and Hollywood will stop trying to make her happen as an actress american audiences want to see?

No, I think Sienna Miller will continue acting.

Re: the break-up I don't think infidelity was involved -- basing that solely on what I have read. It came across as more of a "we grew apart" sort of thing.

Yes, Natalie Portman thanked her love for giving her the next big role of her life (meaning Mommyhood.) Some people speculated that Christian Bale blanked on his wife's name when he started to thank her, but I think he was choking up and couldn't get it out.

Thanks for reconfirming the Portman.

And yes, that was my impression of what happened to Bale, too. For a second, he simply c0uldn't speak.

As poised all of these people are, and as obvious as it may be that they were going to win, it's still daunting to make a speech like that. Clearly I have never won an Oscar, and am unlikely to ever do so. But it seems like the magnitude sometimes hits people once they actually get up on stage.

Hi Jen - i probabaly missed it, but why did Liz leave us? Some cool new job? Focus more on being a mom? Moving to Alaska?

Liz got a new gig as senior editor/lead blogger for Zap 2 It's pop culture blog, Pop 2 It. She's moving to L.A., too.

She's so going Hollywood.

Am very happy for her, though. A great opportunity and a perfect fit for her.

Why am I not surprised that many of these involve female nudity? No similar scenes with men? What about the volleyball scene in Top Gun? That was great. I about wore out that section of our VHS tape.

Yeah, I was thinking about that, too. Obviously it's a ridiculous list -- you can read this in today's morning mix, by the way -- since it seems difficult to determine which scenes are "the most paused."

But yes, it was very much from a straight guy's perspective: nude women and Stormtrooper hitting their heads.

The volleyball Top Gun scene clearly should have been on there.

I would never want to do this as a non-celeb! The media seem to treat the partners as if they are invisible and it looks awkward for all involved. (Not that you would do this, dear Jen!).

Sometimes there's some of that. Although I spoke to Mark Ruffalo, who was with his wife, and she's very much part of the interview. She seems to enjoy the red carpet more than Ruffalo does, which is kind of amusing.

Personally, I would have no problem walking the red carpet and keeping my mouth shut if I were not in the business. It the significant others who are in the business and get ignored that make things more awkward, I think, unless it's clear they're equals in terms of star power and have no internal power struggle issues. (See Warren Beatty and Annette Bening.)

I'm planning a game for my daughter's baby shower in which you match unusual celebrity kids' names with their parents. I have most of the usual suspects: Satyana, Levi, Suri, Shiloh, Apple, Harlow & Sparrow, Honor, Pilot Inspektor (my fave!), Kal-El, Zuma, Romeo & Cruz & Brooklyn, Sadie (both Christina Applegate & Adam Sandler!), Coco, Kyd, Ocean (Melissa D'Arabian from The Food Network), Naleigh, Bronx. . .Can anyone come up with some I haven't thought of yet?

You seem to be missing Rumer and Scout Willis.

I am sure there are others, too, but my brain is semi-fried. Readers, care to chime in?

Sounds like a fun shower.


As you go solo, what are you big likes and dislikes? (All reality, just rehab, just Dr. Drew?) Can we still use "carm down" or are old celebritology-phrases of the old regieme being phased out?

First of all, this is not a regime. I like to think of it as an entertainment-obsessed democracy, where everyone gets a vote via silly online polls and the ability to post snarky comments.

Old and new Celebritology phrases are clearly more than welcome.

As for likes and dislikes, here are just a few, with the caveat that I will likely be writing about many of the things I dislike as well.

Likes: Lost (duh); extreme fandom; awards shows, despite the less than well received Oscars we just witnessed; funny viral videos; George Clooney; John Hughes movies.

Dislikes: Jersey Shore; any reality show that involves Flava Flav; celebrity gossip stories that sound like they were written by a first grader; rom-coms that condescend to their audience (which is most of them).

Crazyy kid names? Nothing beats Moxie CrimeFighter ...Penn Jillette's son.

Excellent suggestion! Thanks.

Any possibility of a guest stint on the chat by our old Producer Paul?

All things are possible at this point.

Had the Oscar host committee seen James Franco in any interviews (Daily Show, Letterman, etc)? He hosted the Oscars exactly like he acts then. Kinda detached and subtle. He's an actor not an entertainer. Not host material. Anne Hathaway was ok, but young. I think a better pairing might have been Hathaway and Justin Timberlake. JT even did off the cuff in presenting, with a "You know" pause like Kirk Douglas, and got laughs then.

You guys have lots of good host suggestions. This may be fodder for a Friday list for tomorrow...

But what is the difference between pop culture and celebrity culture gossip? (Pop is short for POPULAR, you know)

Those two worlds overlap, for sure, which is sort of the concept behind Celebritology.

But for clarification's sake, I think of celeb gossip stuff as more of the who's dating who, who's wearing what, who's gotten arrested sort of stuff. And the pop culture stuff is more about what movies are buzzy, what happened last night on Walking Dead, what's the latest Star Wars-related meme, etc.

Does that make sense?

Again, I will do my best to cover it all and to do it in a way that is smart, informative and -- if at all possible -- classy. I realize that's a tall order and I am a short person, but I will do my best.

For the record, I did this solo when Liz was on maternity leave and it seemed to go OK, although I did have much-needed and invaluable help from the also much-missed Sarah Hughes.

Can you name 5 made in the past 10 years? I'm having a hard time. (All of which reminds me what awful projects once-awesome John Cusack has made in the Aughts.)

All right, let's think: "(500) Days of Summer," "Lars and the Real Girl" (weird, but I liked it), "Knocked Up," "Up in the Air" (it was a lot of things, rom-com being one of them) and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona." I know there are more than that, but there's five right there.

I think there's a huge difference between acting and hosting. It's hard to fill that big stage, which is why entertainers tend to do better than actors (particularly overcommitted actors--JF, I'm looking at YOU). Neil Patrick Harris has been mentioned as a possibility--he might be good.

Neil Patrick Harris has done a fine job at other awards shows. I wonder if they would tap him, though, since he's more associated with theater and TV than film. There's a bit of elitism involved in the Oscar host gig -- it has to be someone the Hollywood film community looks to as one of their own.

I think Harris has certainly proven he has the chops.

BAby Momma

Yes, another good example.

Destry (Stephen Spielberg and Kate Capshaw); Fixie Trixibell, Peaches and Pixie (Bob Geldof and Paula Yates); Ireland (Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger); Blue Angel (U2's The Edge), Sosie (Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick); Moon Unit (Frank Zappa); Kyd (David Duchovny and Tea Leoni), Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily (Michael Hutchence and Paula Yates).

Here's a whole slew of more wacky celeb baby names. (I can't believe I forget Heavenly Hiraani.)

How about Lady Gaga? I bet that wouldn't be dull and boring.

Yeah, but she'd try to do her opening monologue from inside an egg. And that wouldn't be any good.

I'd have to add "Forgetting Sarah Marshall" to the list, because it really is funny. Re: baby names, you have to include Bronx Mowgli Wentz, the spawn of Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz.

Yes on both counts!

I also forgot "I Love You, Man," which is a rom-com that's more about male relationships. But it is about a guy getting married. And Paul Rudd is just genius in it.

I liked High Fidelity.

I did, too. "Must Love Dogs"? Not so much.

All right, I hate to say it but I've got to wrap up. Thanks for making this a really robust chat. I promise my brain will be functioning more solidly when reconvene next Thursday at this time, and hopefully have something to discuss that doesn't involve Charlie Sheen.

In the words of Bartles & Jaymes, thank you for your support. We'll talk next week.

In This Chat
Jen Chaney
An accredited Celebritologist, Jen focuses on pop culture news and trends in the entertainment world.

In addition to overseeing movie content for the Post's Web site, she also writes regularly about film, DVDs and stars of screens large and small.

When she isn't blogging or at the movies, she's ... um ... probably at home, watching a movie.

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