Oscars 2011 after-parties: A recap

Feb 28, 2011

Celebritologist Jen Chaney, Reliable Source's Amy Argetsinger and Style writer Dan Zak were online Monday, Feb. 28, at 2 p.m. ET, to chat about the glitz and glamor of the 2011 Oscars after parties.


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Photos: Red carpet fashions

Photos: The 83rd Academy Awards

Stuever: TV review

Complete list of winners

Arts Post: Inside the Vanity Fair Oscar party


2011 Academy Awards

... because it's still morning, barely, here in L.A. Amazed to wake up groggily and find that Dan Zak is looking so brighteyed -- despite having stayed up later than me and waking up earlier to file his amazing parties story. And I'm still looking forward to reading it. And to your questions.

The highlight of the night for me was seeing a Dan Zak tweet get retweeted by Humblebrag. Job well done Dan!

I have no idea what you're saying to me right now. The coffee has yet to arrive at the diner Amy and I are slouching in.

... also exhausted and just wanting to add that we'll take non-party-related Oscar questions, too, if you have them. I spent much of my day on the red carpet and am happy to share on that.

This dispatch will give you a flavor for what it was like. Now, on to your questions.

Gang, I think the secret Hollywood tries to keep more so than who is in the closet are the actor' heights. So you were at the parties, who is really short or tall? James F? Jake? Do tell.

I think it's sort of a non-secret secret that actors are short.

I didn't run into him this year, but I can tell you that Seacrest is short. (Shocker.) The most diminutive male I saw last night by far was Prince, who I almost walked right into as I entered the Elton John party. He disappeared so quickly I didn't even get to say hi, but I could tell he's not much taller than I am. And I'm almost legally an elf.

No Franco sightings for the three of us at the parties last night. We think he was busy getting ready for his own after-after party, clearly the hot destination of choice for those leaving Vanity Fair.

But yes, everyone is short. Mostly, though, that's because they look bigger in the movies, because they fill up the whole screen, you know? I was struck by seeing Adrian Brody, and while he's not short, he's not as tall as you expect. You expect him to just loom. He doesn't. Only looming guy last night was Quentin Aaron from "The Blind Side."

I'm officially obsessed. I need a live feed of him, 24-7. I also thought he was going to kiss Jude Law onstage and was oddly disappointed when he didn't. Talk about a bromance! I hear the three of them, his lovely wife included, hit up the after parties. Any scoop?

RDJr. and wife were at Vanity Fair but I didn't see 'em. I'd watch he and Jude host. They had a strange homo-comedic synergy in "Sherlock Holmes."

I found him to be absolutely fascinating to watch, not at all scary! I have heard "scary" today. Perhaps if more people associated with really old people (Mr. Douglas is 94), he wouldn't have frightened them so. He was funny, he was irreverent and he really wanted to steal a scene if he had time. Great!

I don't think it's scary so much as it is, frankly, disconcerting. Some people respond to Douglas the same way they do to Dick Clark -- it's just hard to hear people who suffered a severe stroke try to talk, and sometimes it can be hard to get past that.

Ultimately, I think Douglas turned that into an asset and milked the humor of his slow speech. Which proves that his mind is still pretty sharp and that he's got a sense of humor about himself.

the "clever" remarks the presenters make in introducing the nominees. They are stilted, unfunny and painfully obvious. Sandra Bullock almost sounded clever at first, but then fell into a monotone recitation of jokes that couldn't have taken more than a nanosecond to be written (e.g., telling the nominee for "Social Network" that she was waiting for himto respond to her "friend" request-- hahahaha).

A chatter last night said it sounded like Bullock and Bridges were talking in school-marm tone. "Where's Natalie? Now Natalie, you did a good job. Gold star for you." It was very flat. It was like the show wasn't written at all. Yet Bruce Vilanch, the man who's made a living scripting awards shows, was still apparently at the helm...

What was the "celebrity on the street" reaction to the ceremony, especially the hosts?

I tried to get a sense of that at Gov. Ball and Elton John. And anyone I asked sort of said, it was fine. If they thought it was bad, they weren't going to say.

But I overheard Jeff Garlin raving about the standing ovation Billy Crystal got, which tells you something. If they're gushing about Crystal instead of Hathaway and Franco, probably not a ring of endorsement.

Franco's a terribly talented guy, he just may not be a host guy. There's no shame in that. But he'll likely get roasted for it for a few days, then the culture will move on and continue marveling over Charlie Sheen's lunacy.

Actually, that might already be happening...

Billy Crystal, when asked about Hathaway's hosting in front of Hathaway, only said: "She's adorable." I think that says it all.

I've heard that, but when I saw Seacrest towering over the boy from The Kids Are Alright, I thought they might actually be hobbits.


Well, note that he's a boy. And Seacrest is, well, not.

But look, I can't make fun of anyone for being short people. Those are my people. And I stand beside them as a member of the Guild of Vertically Challenged Individuals, or GVCI.

Yes, when our union goes on strike, we do carry picket signs. They're just so low to the ground, no one notices them.

I have no proof, but Seacrest was clearly standing on a box.

Dan, last night you promised us a thorough accounting of any contact you had with The King. So?

I never laid eyes on him! Amy did, though.

Has there ever been an Oscar host do more damage to his career than James Franco? I was a fan of him before this event, but he really was awful. The hype over the past couple months was a bit much -- way too much overexposure. But last night he was just worthless.

Yeah, the show was dismal. And I'm easy to please. I have no idea what it'll do for his career. Perhaps this is the last straw, in terms of over-exposure. There are those of us who think he may have peaked with "Freaks & Geeks."

I love me some Daniel Desario but I don't think his career peaked with Freaks and Geeks at all.

And I think he'll be fine. He's got his hands in so many things and seems inquisitive and smart enough not to let an arguably lousy Oscar performance curtail his career.

He may have been a mediocre host, but he was a very worthy nominee this year. I can't see his career imploding over this. Letterman was a bad host (supposedly) too. His life didn't come to a screeching halt.

I heard that his date is Indian actress Mallika Sherawat. Is that true? Did you see them at the after parties?

He didn't look like he was with anybody, did he? At least not when we spotted him. Dan thought that maybe Paz de la Huerta was with him, but she actually was in close proximity to Quentin  Tarantino most of the time I saw her.

Someone asked about Firth? I saw him. Lovely. Exactly the height you want him to be. Surrounded by ladies demanding iPhone photos. Didn't seem to stick around long -- I'm sure he had a long list of parties.


Oh, and -- omg, Dan! You touched Trump's hair!!!

Inside the Vanity Fair Oscar party

US Weekly reported that he bailed on his own party and hopped a flight back to NYC "toot sweet." Guess he was a little embarassed by his non-stellar hosting.

Yeah, Liz Kelly (whose last day is today -- moment of silence, please) saw that and told me.

He may just have wanted to get out of the glare. If he felt did a lousy job, the last thing he wants to do is be out and about having people ask him about it, I guess.

Billy Crystal was clearly the axis of attention during his short stay at Vanity Fair. He just stood, their twirling his martini glass, olive bobbing, soaking in the nostalgia for him.

How tall are Colin Firth and Jeff Bridges? They don't seem height-challenged.

Pretty tall. As are Brendan Fraser, McConaughey, Josh Lucas, Kathryn Bigelow. Josh Brolin is hobbit-like.

In heels some of the women are darn tall, too.

I felt like I needed a ladder to talk to Jennifers Hudson and Lawrence on the red carpet.

Where is the Vanity Fair party now held -- I'd hear that it moved from Morton's? I had the bizarre and hilarious opportunity to serve cocktails at that party a few times. I remember how ridiculously gorgeous everyone was and how many smokers there are in Hollywood. Seemed like everyone was lighting up. Was the same true this year?

It's at the Sunset Tower Hotel, on the Sunset Strip. Elegant and understated, with amazing views of the city. They set up a lot of tents to make it bigger, and the smokers are just outside the corners of those, so that's where you peek to see who smokes these days. Answer: Jeremy Renner. (Who, in case you don't know, is tiny.)

Did Kirk Douglas make it to any of the after-party stuff? You see him upclose? Was that a total surprise he was there?

Didn't see him at Vanity Fair. The elderly were represented there by Don Rickles.

I didn't see him at the Gov. Ball, which would be the most likely party he'd attend, since Oscar presenters and nominees are invited and it's immediately after the ceremony.

Was anyone else bothered by Anne Hathaway's yelling "Woo! Woo!" as presenters were introduced? It reminded me of a high school pep rally. Also, why did James Franco never look anywhere except up and to the right? Is that where the teleprompter was located? He just seemed to be on autopilot all night.

As I said during last nite's chat, Anne Hathaway conducts herself like she's running for class president.

Up close, any surprises? Better looking than expected? Shorter than expected?

This was my second year on the carpet, and the thing that always surprises me is how good everyone looks in person. Liz was trying to determine her best and worst dressed list, and I kept saying, no that person looked good. So did that person.

One who looked amazing and hasn't gotten as much attention? Mandy Moore. She was like a shiny, wispy, sparky thing. But in the picture, you can't tell how radiant she looked.

I also was wowed by Amy Adams's dress. The blue was just stunning.

He was at Vanity Fair. Please confirm his total awesomeness.

He was part of the cohort there for the dinner viewing party, i.e. before us. Our arrival time was 11 p.m., PST. So, while we're always dazzled by the people we see, we're always a little sad the next day to see the full guest list and realize who we missed.

I didn't mind her speech, but what was with her stealing Kirk Douglas's cane? That made her look beyond clueless and self-absorbed.

She's kinda batty. I was like: "You're taking an old man's cane!" Amy/Jen: Any battiness in the press room after she won?

after the controversy over her vote-for-me ads. But you know, I like a little snappishness. I like her.

Letterman was unfairly criticized for his performance. At least he tried, and tried new things. Franco was all too cool for the whole event. Just ask him. And I loved freaks and Geeks - he was perfect in that role, and still good in Spiderman, etc. But we loks our hosts to make an effort. I was never a big Billy Crystal fan, but I was sure missing him last night.

Agreed on all counts. I loved it when Letterman hosted. It was so wrong that it was right, if that makes sense.

Franco just may not be the host type. And that's fine. Despite evidence to the contrary, he can't be good at everything.

I spoke to Crystal and he said he might consider hosting if he gets to do something to make it new. Not sure how likely that is, but I thought it was interesting that he didn't just say no flat-out when I asked him. I think the standing ovation really got to him.

Is it as fabulous as the pictures make it out to be? Did you get to Madonna's party? If so, how was it?

The party is pretty fabulous, in terms of the starriness of attendees, but everything else is a bit chintzy. The music is all Village People and Donna Summer and "celebrate good times come on." And no, we didn't go to Madonna's. Madonna doesn't suffer press.

Was Banksy there to accept an award in the event he would have won?

No, I don't think so.

I saw Thierry Guetta on the carpet and another reporter asked where Banksy was. He sort of gestured to himself and we all said, "You're Banksy?" And he just sort of shrugged.

I don't think the real Banksy was there, or if he was, he was incognito as a normal person in a tux.

Any idea why he was not honored in the death montage? Do they avoid people who OD'd?

No, because Heath Ledger technically OD'd, right? I think it was his dearth of stellar film credits, and the lack of space in the montage.

Corey Haim died a couple days after last year's Oscar ceremony. In fairness, the competition is really stiff -- all those dead agents and cinematographers to honor. Haim didn't even get recognized in the actor-only montage at the Screen Actors Guild (at least not that I remember, and I'm, like, the one person in America who took notes).

The last test of fame: Which stars make the Academy Awards "In Memoriam" tribute reel?


DZ - You're far better looking than most of us regular folk, and I think you would have as good chance as anyone to pick up a celeb at the Vanity Fair party. Did anyone flirt with you?

The only reason I'm answering this question -- which is clearly from a friend or family member -- is because I do go into the Vanity Fair party looking for some flirting action (because why not?). But when nearly every face is a recognizable face, us non-famous people get lost in the shuffle and just become part of the decor.

Most sites have Brolin at 5 feet 10 inches, which isn't exactly Hobbit-like. Another bigger than most actor is Liam Neeson--he's 6 feet 4 inches I think. My idea for a host? Craig Ferguson. Great on his feet, fabulous accent, able to sting but not wound.

Yeah, I don't think Brolin is that small. Although, again, I am biased since everyone seems tall to me. (Another statuesque man: Conan O'Brien.)

Ferguson would be good, but I don't know if -- rightly or wrongly -- the Academy would perceive him to be "elite" enough to have earned the right to host. I love watching him, though. He is great on his feet. And you can't get mad at people when they make mean jokes in a Scottish accent. 

Josh Brolin is tiny! I swear. I'm 5'10" and we were certainly not eye to eye last night.

I was in the shower for the RDJ/Jude Law combo presentation! I could kick myself. A ridiculous question: are In-n-Out burgers as incredibly delicious as advertised? It seems like they always show up at Oscar parties, and I always read the accounts and get a terrible hungering to hop a plane to LA and hit a drive-through.

They are incredibly delicious. The only fast-food burger I'll eat. They're really better served piping hot from an actual In-n-Out restaurant, but you're pretty happy to grab a cooling one from a cater-waiter at 1:30 a.m.

If you have a star on the Walk of Fame, you ought to get 15 seconds in the In Memoriam film roll.

Seems reasonable. Except there are a lot of TV and music people on the walk of fame. And Oscars keep the death reel for movie people.

I can reluctantly understand skipping over Haim. But on an evening when they started the show honoring Gone With the Wind, how on earth do they not include Cammie King in the montage? Not a huge role, but really the last of the GWTW cast -- and it was an important role as well. Really surprising.

When you're covering the Oscars, you end up missing a lot of the Oscars because you're busy writing about the Oscars, if that makes any sense. So it was only hours later that I learned little Bonnie Blue Butler was omitted, and I think that was a terrible terrible mistake. Cammie King wasn't just in Gone With the Wind, she was also the voice of Falene in "Bambi." That's about all she did, but those are big deal movies.

I figured Jeremy Renner was tiny because ScarJo dwarfed him in a photo of them together. What surprised me was the photo of Rhea Durham towering over hubby Mark Wahlberg, almost like Will Farrell (without heels) outsized MM in The Other Guys.

Yeah, Wahlberg is not that tall, now that you mention it. But in person she didn't quite tower, she was just a tad taller.

Aside from Obama's clip about As Time Goes By (surprising and fun, imo), did anyone DC have a presence at the Oscars? I feel like our wonky world disappears from the earth when I watch award shows.

Former social secretaries Desiree Rogers and Julianne Smoot were at Vanity Fair. The live-action short winner "God of Love" was a big hit at the D.C. Shorts Festival last year. And a doc short nominee called "Killing in the Name" was exec-produced by a Dupont Circle resident named Carie Lemack. I wrote about her strange journey thru the madness of Oscar week here.

Uh, it was the Oscar hosting gig. You have got to be kidding that it will have any effect whatsoever on his career. It is pretty much a joke and no one cares. He can act and that is what matters.

Yeah, I'm with you.

I attended a summer program for the arts many years ago while a senior in high school. There was a really nice girl in the program named Jen. The last day, her dad came to pick her up and it was . . . Billy Crystal. He was so down to earth and nice as can be. And--more revealing--so was his daughter. Nobody had a clue that she was his daughter. Since then, he can do no wrong in my book. I'd love to see him host again.

Honestly, I would not be surprised if it happens.

Every year for the past few years, they do the "we're reinventing the Oscars" routine. They generate all this hype about how it's going to be different this time, we swear. And then it isn't all that different, and people get all annoyed.

Personally I think the Oscars is what it is. You can try different ways of presenting the trophies, shuffle through hosts, trim musical performances, whatever. But in the end it's an awards show and you either want to sit through the whole thing or you don't. All the day-after belly-aching gets on my nerves a little bit because it's just as predictable as the show itself can be.

Anyway, that rant aside, after all the focus on reinvention, I could see the Oscar producers switching course, tapping Crystal and promoting next year's ceremony as sort of a classic Coke version of the Academy Awards.

The taste you know and love is back! That sort of thing.

Liz is leaving? Sorry, wasn't paying attention to anything other than work recently. Good luck Liz.

I'll pass it on. I am sure she appreciates it. Lord knows I will miss her.

JF reminds me of the guy at work who volunteers for every special project and committee and your boss fawns over him but you know he never really does anything well. Was he, like, writing a term paper backstage?

He was probably working craft services.

I  don't know if Jen noticed, but there was a dude in the press filing center who looked totally Franco-esque -- wearing a bowler hat and a gray suit instead of black tie, and when Christian Bale came backstage to take questions, he asked Bale if he'd been drinking, and Bale asked him if he had, and there were all kinds of jolly insider yuk-yuks between the two of them, and I was thinking, well, we've got our own Franco back here, don't we.

I think they get the first two slots in the `I could have sworn he was dead' sweepstakes. Who is left who would stun us for being alive, except perhaps Ernest Borgnine?

Luise Rainer, the first actress to win two Oscars, is still alive. She's 101.

When you are at Elton John's party, isn't it protocol that you go up and chat with the host of a few minutes? Did any of you speak with him?

I got there so late that I couldn't find him -- or very many other famous types. I definitely would have.

I heard he sang Tiny Dancer with Florence Welch; was sad that I missed that.

The acceptance speeches were all around painful to sit through last night. Any chance they will finally eliminate acceptance speeches and simply let Vanna White deliver the trophy to the winners in their seats? They can fill in the lost air time with more singing kids.

Vanna doesn't do stairs.

Do certain segments of the media have trouble getting stars to come by and talk to them? It seemed from Jen's account that there were a number of folks who breezed by the print media and hit the TV interviewers instead. Also: I agree Franco wasn't very solid up front as a host- no bust on him, I think it's just not his thing- but the videos and pictures he was posting to Twitter were incredible. I really enjoyed them.

Yeah, I still need to go back and look at everything he tweeted. The video I posted of walking onstage was very cool. And that raises an interesting point: increasingly, the Oscars are becoming an experience we have online as well as on TV.

I think the broadcast is still the key thing, but I wonder if a day will come when what a host does online is just as important as what he says onstage. Just a random thought from a tired individual.

To your question about media, on the red carpet, yes. You have to tap the publicists and ask them to send over said celebrity. Sometimes they'll come to you and sometimes not.

And sometimes they do the, "She has to get inside" routine. That happened a few times yesterday and a ridiculous amount on Saturday at the Spirits.

I thought your story last week on the way they honor people who have died was really interesting. Particularly interesting was how they would cut out TV people because they were not film stars. So why did Lena Horne get the place of honor at the end of the montage. No doubt she was incredibly talented, though I don't believe she was ever considered a movie star, like Tony Curtis and Dennis Hopper.

This is a controversial choice. Lena Horne undoubtedly deserved a place in the reel, but I never imagined she'd close it out. I just assumed it would be Dennis Hopper, or possibly Tony Curtis. While she was a notable presence in movies, just try to name one of them -- she was a much bigger deal in music. But I'm thinking it was set up that way so as to have more resonance with presenter/major fan Halle Berry coming up next.

With all the critiques of Franco & Hathaway, do you have any suggestions as to who would be better suited to host the Oscars next year? Has this foray into attracting a younger demographic come to an end or will we have to wait and see the ratings?

Did Dan already nominate Robert Downey Jr.? He's a natural comedian, a beloved Hollywood figure -- a hipster with gravitas. Can't imagine anyone who would be better at this.

A cable morning talk show host today insisted that James Franco was high while hosting the Oscars. Do you think he was? He did squint a lot and appeared pretty laid back.

Oh brother.

Danny Boyle said the same thing about Franco when he first met him -- he seemed like he was high, but he's not.

I think that's just his demeanor.

I understand they were selected to try to reach out to younger generations. As a member of the younger generation the Oscars people target,allow me to apologize to the TV viewing public. No, I didn't find them funny. Bring back Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin.

See but Baldwin and Martin weren't that funny either. I say get RDJr. and Streep to co-host. Or rather, have Jude and RDJr. and Jude do it but have Streep accept on everyone's behalf. She's made a performance art form out of accepting awards.

Jen were you able to keep your composure when meeting Christian Bale? I noticed he has reverted back to his natural accent, unlike his Charlie Rose appearance a few months back.

Yeah, I still can't explain that Charlie Rose thing.

Thank you for asking -- yes, I totally kept my composure. It was a very quick encounter, as he was off to chat up other people. I can report that he has a very firm handshake.

I have been a big fan of John Hawkes. Just a unique looking, outstanding and underrated character actor. Was curious how he looked/seemed in person?

He was great. He's not a red carpet kinda guy, but he genuinely seemed in good spirits and was very appreciatie of the attention Winter's Bone was getting. At the Gov. Ball I saw him having dinner and giving his girlfriend a kiss. He seemed very happy.

I was glad to see him get some recognition this year.

He's CUTE in person. The camera does funny things -- it makes some people look better, some people look worse.

Dan, I'd flirt with you at the VF party! Can you get me in next year you handsome devil you?

And I'm only answering this question because my ego's always bruised after Vanity Fair (the only physical touch I experienced was my cheek to the Donald's hair). But, no, I can't get you in. I can barely get myself in.

I think L.A. is just an ego bruising place in general. Everyone's thinner and prettier. And when they tell you you're pretty, you know they're lying.

In a related story, I may actually have gained some physical bruises from the red carpet experience. God, that was brutal.

Well, I don't know about anyone else, but I learned something last night. Get a haircut before the award show. That was one of the best lines of the evening.

Luke Matheny! We've been telling you since last fall that the "God of Love" director is the next big thing. Best live-action short I've ever seen. (Only live-action short I've ever seen?) Oh, and don't buy that big about needing a haircut -- that ridiculous mop of hair made him stand out at the VF party more than all those well-groomed guys you didn't recognize toting Oscars.  And you know what you need to do if you're going to be a star? Stand out in the crowd.

To follow up on the person who suggested getting rid of acceptance speeches, I don't know that it something I would advocate. But it was a dreadful year for them. All the same laundry list of agent, wife, etc -- except for Randy Newman, who was good. But nobody got cut off -- was that intentional? Did we know that beforehand? Usually two people get an award, one guy takes the whole time and other guy gets shut out. This time the Academy let him have a few words too.

They really gave them a long runway with their speeches this year, didn't they? But very little memorable was said on stage. Like her or not, Melissa Leo is the only one who delivered entertainingly. The creeping sense of caution at the Oscars -- from fashion choices to thank-yous -- has been making the show much more boring lately.

She looked incredible, but did anyone ask her what was up with that awful dress?

It was a Givenchy number. I know our own Holly Thomas loved the dress. I'm kinda indifferent because I believe Blanchett can do no wrong, ever.

She was one I did not see in person, so I can't make the how it looks in pictures vs. how it looks in real-life comparison.

I kind of liked it but I think it's one of those dresses that's very fashion-forward but that a regular person might find a bit too weird to ever wear herself.

Odds Charlie Sheen leads off next year's Oscar death reel?

12 to 1? 15 to 1? This is a sad question, and a sadder answer.

Sadder still: somewhere in Vegas, bets are currently being placed on those odds.

There seems to be a pretty mixed reaction of whether Melissa Leo was really stunned and stumbling through her speech, or it was all really calculating after her whole promotional campaign. I hate to say it, but it seemed she was playing a role the whole time -- and doing the same overacting we saw in The Fighter. Thoughts?

Hard to get a handle on her. Also unfair to diagnose. I had lunch with her last year and she was very natural and easygoing, but she just turns to jelly in a setting where her work is recognized.

Yes! Several times watching the TV coverage (ABC) they showed the RC and it was crowded w people, not stars necessarily. I thought--how do people get down that thing.

It helps when you have a handler shuttling you to and fro and telling you where to go.

Seriously, on Oscar night, the stars are just told where to go and they go there. 

I assumed he was looking at the same camera and telepromper as Michele Bachmann in her response to the State of the Union.


So what did you all wear?

Uh, black suit and white button-down shirt with rounded collar from Club Monaco. Black tie from H&M, which I had to scissor in order to shorten because it was too dang long. Shoes from Macy's. Socks from Target. Plus an expression that was both aloof and come-hither.

I wore a plain but comfortable black dress from Macy's, heeled sandals from DSW and an expression that careened between panic, anger and enjoyment.

This was the year that I was going to change costumes midway through the evening -- like the real people do. It was unseasonably cold, so I figured that I'd wear my ruched dark-gold, mid-calf length dress to the press filing center -- advantage: sleeves -- and then change into my dressier full-length flowy pale gold for the party.  But then, you know, I decided: Sleeves are so modern, don't you think? (Also: warmer). So I kept that dress. I don't know -- 50 Cent kissed me, so I must have made the right choice.

"the competition is really stiff..."? Amy, you're slaying me.

I'm going to pull a Melissa Leo here and apologize for that. I didn't mean that -- it was not the time or place. Please, give me a five-second delay.

Shouldn't the question more appropriately be: who wasn't high in Hollywood last night?

I didn't detect a single whiff of weed at Vanity Fair last night. And Bill Maher was all over the place.

In past years, we've picked up the scent of weed at the party. Not this year.

Any actors you saw out way too late -- closing down the late night/early morning events?

I believe the last semi-famous person Amy and I saw at Vanity Fair around 2:30 a.m. PST was Delroy Lindo. It was bleak at that hour. Everyone had already scooted to Madonna's, or Franco's, or somewhere we weren't invited.

Is Chris Botti entertaining at Oscars after parties?

I don't know who that is, and I don't care to find out.

I love Arch Campbell. But I was watching his Oscar recap, and he called it a night of surprises? With all due respect to Arch, were there any surprises at all?

Everything I know about movies I learned from Arch Campbell. Yes, it was a night of surprises... in that there were absolutely no surprises, and there are always surprises, right? I mean, really, all the prognosticators were saying that King's Speech/Firth/Portman/Leo/Bale were the front runners... but once you get deep into prognosticating culture, the thing is to predict upsets, so for whatever reason, you saw a lot of people in the last week predicting surges for Social Network/Hailee/Geoffrey Rush/Annette Bening. Which, you know, never materialized. So, there's your surprise.

I have mixed emoptions about Jennifer Hudson. She looked great. However, I always appreciated that she looked like a regular person -- fuller figure -- and was a great role models for girls that they don't have to starve themselves and shrink their body types. I'm not sure I can point her out to daughters/nieces/grandchildren anymore.

I don't think Hudson is starving herself though. She's thin, yes, but she doesn't seem emaciated. And, not to turn this into a commercial for Weight Watchers, but I think she lost the pounds in a healthy way.

If she stays where she is and doesn't keep shedding pounds, I think she still looks like a regular person. But I hear you on having those kind of role models. They are rare in Hollywood and it is nice to point to other body types that are also deemed beautiful.

Kudoes on this story - just got to read it - it is brilliantly written.

Aren't you kind. It's a long-standing Style section tradition, perfected by Hank Stuever and Bill Booth. For those who haven't read it, here it is. And here's last year's.

Anyone talk to her--seemed so adorable and down to earth. If so, hope she stays that way.

I lurked next to her for a little bit, as she received instruction from a very tan woman (a publicist maybe?) to "always listen to her mother," or something. She was very politely listening when I would've run in the other direction.

I did and actually shot video of her on the red carpet, which I will post in Celebritology later today or tomorrow a.m.. I also interviewed her via phone a few months ago when True Grit was released.

My impression is that she's pretty much everything you want your little girl to be: poised, polite, bright. And her dress was darling.

Have they ever tried an Oscar night without a host? Just have the presenters do their thing, including the usually lame scripted "asides."

I know some years they've had like 8 to 10 official hosts, so things were more diffuse...

I can't remember them ever going hostless. That's not the Oscar's style. It has to be an EVENT.

Care to share any behind the scenes highlights of covering the Oscars?

 I think the most interesting encounter I had last night at Vanity Fair was with Lora Hirschberg, the first woman to ever win an Oscar for sound mixing (for "Inception"). I asked her if she thought it was a notable distinction, and she said "Well, kind of, yeah." Only 2 to 5 percent of film sound mixers are women, she said.

It's hard to properly convey  this without sounding like a wuss and a half. But it really is stressful to cover the Oscars, especially the red carpet, I think. It's such a charged atmosphere, you're in very close quarters and everyone has a few minutes to get time with someone their editors desperately want them to get.

Factor in that many of us are now working on Internet time (Have you tweeted this yet? How about now? Now?) and it's even more stressful.

So one of my favorite things was the five minutes I took to actually eat from the buffet outside the press room. (They do put out a decent spread for the media). 

And despite all the chaos, it is exciting to be on the red carpet or to walk into the Governors Ball. The next day, when I watch the coverage on TV, I'm always like, wait, I was there!

So I'm both in awe of it and over it all at the same time.

We might do a little FAQ about covering the Oscars for you -- it's very demystifying. You've got a laptop bag over your evening gown, and you never set foot in the Kodak Theatre, and you barely see the second half of the show at all because you're so busy writing about it.

As for the Vanity Fair party -- there's no behind the scenes. We pretty much dump everything that happens to us into the story.

I'm reading that it was either fashion forward or an absolute disaster. What do you guys think?

I think it was lavender.

Make it happen, America.

And throw in Jude Law for good measure.

Seriously, that is a great idea.

Any word whether Raffaello Follieri's cell had a TV set up so he was able to watch the awards?

haha. is he still behind bars?

When the producer of Inside Job got his award, he made a slight political comment about how nobody had gone to jail. As everybody is so careful about being politically correct, was that noted by anybody?

I'm sure people noted it. Charles Ferguson was very deft. He made his point pointedly, then moved on to thanking people. A good blend of issue and gratitude.

It seemed to me the bland/poor hosting material may have been in direct response to the Ricky G. at the Golden Globes. Thoughts? (BTW, I had the exact same response as one of you last night while watching the Oscars: No one had written it! Everyone was making it up as they went along. Explained a lot, if you asked me.)

I thought there was too much self-referentialness -- too much, "hey, we're hosting! What do we do? how're we doing?" Sure, that's what a handful of bloggers are interested in, but most viewers were probably sitting there thinking, "who are these kids and why do they keep talking about themselves?"

One of the guest comics on the E! after party asked why Jane Lynch never shows up to any of these events/parties with a boyfriend. She was clearly being facetious. I'm surprised this hasn't been picked up by many people. It's borderline malicious.

Ew. At Vanity Fair, Jane was buddybuddy with another Jane: Fonda, that is. They sat for a long time gabbing in a booth. Lynch was wearing this great glittery/tweedy lady blazer. Lynch is a tall one, too.

Uh, he walked by me when they were filming Contact in DC years ago and he seemed about 5'7" to my 5'4" self. Either he's had a growth spurt since then or he was wearing lifts.

Interesting. He definitely seemed taller than me last night.

His smile to me seems the same in all situations, at least professionally. I've seen him on General Hospital and now his smile give me the creeps, there's no variation between psycho Franco on GH smile and Oscar smile or interview smile.

But, remember, James Franco was playing a performance artist named "Franco" on the show, so...

Was he promoting Get Rich or Die Tryin' 2?

It still breaks my heart that that was not actually a good movie.

Were any of you regular folks fortunate enough to breathe Oprah's air?

No! We had to settle for Gayle. Whatever.

Do  people who get nominated, but lose for Best Short Film get invited to any of the big parties? Does the winner? Does winning an Oscar command automatic attention, or does it have to one of the big category winners?

The delightful thing about the Vanity Fair party is seeing the guys from the lesser categories show up, walking around with their Oscars. I'm not 100 percent sure but I suspect that they don't invite all the nominees, or it would be a much more crowded party -- the VF wranglers just swoop up the winners at the end of the night and give them the golden ticket.

After the Golden Globes there was a big fuss that Ricky Gervais had insulted Robert Downey Jr and his rehabilitation from substance abuse. Last night he was making jokes about 2001 or some time ago.... Was the Gervais "mad" a hoax?

Everything's a hoax. We're living in a Banksy world.

I don't know if Downey was really all that mad at the Globes. 

But I also think there's a difference between hearing it from Gervais, and having your "Sherlock Holmes" co-star say it as part of a bit that you've planned.

Although maybe Downey knew it was coming from Gervais, too. Who knows?


Was the talk about their hosting positive or negative among the Hollywood crowd?

I overheard nothing about the hosts.

The one moment where I saw Anne Hathaway, she and Mamie Gummer were jumping up and down and hugging each other. It seemed like a moment of positive validation.


Amy and I are signing off after scarfing our eggsadillas on Sunset Blvd. Thanks for chatting. Back to the real world now.

In This Chat
Dan Zak
Dan Zak is a staff writer for The Washington Post Style section.
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.

Celebritology Live Archive
Amy Argetsinger
Amy Argetsinger is co-writer of The Washington Post's Reliable Source column, where she brings you the latest gossip from inside the Beltway and beyond.

• Read Reliable Source Q&As
• Send her tips at reliablesource@washpost.com
•Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/reliablesource.
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