The Oscars: Winners, losers, fashionistas and more

Feb 27, 2012

Jen, Ann and Monica discussed The Oscars, including the winners, losers, snubs, fashionistas and more.

- ?The Artist? wins best picture; Streep takes home third career Oscar

- Photo Gallery

Monica and I are here in L.A., holed up in a hotel room, not entirely sure what day or time it is due to lack of sleep. But we know this much: it's time to talk Oscars -- winners, losers, fashions, party high jinx, the whole she-bang.

The exceptionally intelligent (and hopefully more coherent) Ann Hornaday is with us as well. So let's get started.

I think she's so busy with all those kids that she didn't have time to squeeze in her workout yesterday, thus explaining the lunges on stage. It was all about multi-tasking.

That's it exactly.

Fortunately for the viewers at home, Jim Rash also opted to multi-task.

I went to see "The Artist", but I had to leave. It was not any fault of the film. Someone behind me was talking all during the film. I hate when that happens.

Ah yes, the dreaded theater etiquette decline. I agree with you and even wrote about the issue a couple of weeks ago. (When I saw "The Artist" the noise was coming from the IMAX theater next door, almost as annoying!)

what's going on with the chat? it's been 20 minutes and i only see one response!

We were having some technical difficulties. Should be speedier now. (I hope?)

But what would have made it interesting is if a) there was actual competition in the category (I'm not a comic book movie fan at all and "Star Spangled Man" from Captain America was among the best four minutes I had in front of screen in 2011) and b) if they'd let the song be performed. Every single other bloviating segment (another Cyrstal montage, movie quotes, first movie experiences, even Cirque) had my group of viewers noting once again "and THIS is what we got instead of the Muppets." The only one we didn't feel that way about was the Guest and Co. Wizard of Oz focus group; that was genuinely clever.

I still don't understand why only two songs got nominated. Surely some of those other songs were worthy enough to make the cut.

I was literally arguing with Bret McKenzie on the red carpet about this.

"Did they tell you why it was cut?"

"They're afraid of felt?"

"But Miss Piggy and Kermit are presenting."

"It got cut for time."

"But there are only two songs."

At which point "Muppets" director James Bobbin chimed in: "These were all the arguments we were making."

What was up with Ms. Paltrow's ensemble last night? The cape was ridiculous, she needs to eat a sandwich, and to top it all off the hair was a disaster! Really? Low messy ponytail is Oscar style? I'm so over her and her GOOPy ways!

I kind of liked the martian-ality of it.

But honestly, Gwynnie will forever be living up to or running away from her pink Pepto-dress from the Shakespeare in Love days. Until the end of her days, this is how we will picture her.

Was I the only one who thought it was mildly obnoxious? I love her but... I wasn't crazy about it. I felt like I was being lectured and all I was doing was sitting there watching!

I liked her speech, actually. I appreciated her humility and how emotional she got.

As much as I admire Streep, I wanted Viola Davis to win because I thought that was the stronger performance. But Streep always gives good speech in my opinion, even when she forgets her glasses.

I thought it was perfect, really. Compared to the laundry lists of thank yous we had to sit through with everyone else?

I wish Jim Rash did admit to making fun of Angelina. That was a hilarious poke at a bizarre, "I know you are already looking at me, but look a me some more" move.

I think what he meant was that he was not making fun of her in a mean-spirited sense. It was obviously funny that she was standing that way so replicating that move was a natural instinct for an improv comedy guy to follow. But he wasn't trying to be a jerk necessarily.

Yes, there was nothing really dramatic on the runway last night (except for the slightly absurd J-Lo outfit), but in general everyone looked very good. Critics were underwhelmed by things I found attractive: P. Cruz's blue, G. Paltrow's white, V. Davis's green, etc. Question: have we gotten to the point where the only acceptable outfits are cut to there or designed by Bob Mackey?

I like every dress you mention, and all of them made my soon to be published list.

Sometimes critics look at fashion from a different perspective than non-designer-oriented people do. Most people prefer really flattering and pretty vs. fashion-forward. I guess that makes us conservative and not daring enough. But in the words of Meryl Streep: "Well, whatever."

I love her but the leg thing was bizzare! Her dress, however, was really nice. She would have been a 10 had it not been for the leg.

I am on board with this comment.

Oddly, when Angelina tries to be sexy, it just comes across as terrifying. Maybe there's too much there. It all just sort of congeals and explodes.

I hope you're aware that the mini bar for WaPo employees is a perk that management wants you to enjoy -- so go ahead and have another $ 3.00 Snickers bar and wash it down with a cool $ 5.00 Coke...

Do you have a camera set up on us? Because I wandered into Jen's room carrying a jar of pistachios that I snatched from the minibar around 4 am. It was the sustenance that kept me going.

What is up with that big bow? Dowdy to my eye, am I missing a fashion beat?

I adored this bow. But I am a bow person. It is dowdy-chic. Librarian-sexy. I wanted to carry her around in my pocket (and she did change clothes for the after parties).

I've read every review in the major U.S. dailies and they're all the same -- Oscar has an old demographic; Crystal was stale; the show veered from last year's "youth" debacle to this year's old fogey vibe; and on and on. It's just an award show, everyone. The host tells jokes, there's a song or two, and then editors, sound technicians, and actors read from note cards thanking everyone on the crew. It has ALWAYS been like that; ALWAYS will be. I don't expect transformative entertainment that will cause me to view the world in a new way. I just expect pretty people getting a statue. So just can the snark. Am I wrong to think this way?

You are not. I agree with you -- we literally hear the same thing every year.

If people didn't think some of Crystal's jokes were funny or that his approach was off-base, that's absolutely valid to point out. And if people -- oh, I don't know -- thought the Muppets should have been allowed to sing a song, that's totally fine to rant about.

But as you say, the truth is that this is an awards show. There is a basic template that it always will follow and it's ability to be exciting will depend entirely on what films are nominated and how surprising the wins and speeches are. In other words, things that are out of the telecast organizers' control.

If you don't care about many of these awards -- and understandably, many people don't -- then you will be bored. There's pretty much no getting around that.



Is it just me, or was J-Lo's dress on the verge of a "wardrobe malfunction"? I swear I could see a hint of nip during her presentation. Also do not think Cameron was wearing a bra/cups. Both were gorgeous dresses but really, a little decency please!

You and all of Twitter have been debating this problem for about 18 hours now. JLo-gate.

I will say that I saw both women at the party later on, and they both looked decent and stunnnning.

Do you think maybe Viola Davis' defense of playing maids on recent TV shows such as Tavis Smiley may have hurt her in that the Academy, like Smiley, doesn't want to be reminded of its racist past and the first Oscar to Hattie McDaniel for playing, of all things, a maid? In short, how far we've not come all these years?

I'm not sure that was the issue. No one had a problem giving the Oscar to Octavia Spencer, who also played a maid, and won in the same category as Hattie McDaniel.

My hunch is the race between Streep and Davis was very close and Davis just missed it by *that* much.

I concur with Jen. Both were terrific performances -- it was a coin toss for a lot of people.

Maybe it's me, but it seem like Meryl Streep was treating this award as a lifetime achievement award rather then award for a particular role. She didn't really mention the film or anybody in it, fellow cast members, director, screenwriter, etc...

I noticed that, too -- the omission reinforced what I and a lot of other critics noted, which was that Streep delivered an Oscar-worthy performance in an otherwise mediocre film. The moment definitely had a body-of-work feeling about it, a la Susan Lucci.

But wouldn't you listen to a Meryl Streep acceptance speech any day of the week? She was delightful backstage as well -- all self-deprecating and then suddenly getting glinty eyed at the thought of going after Katharine Hepburn's record. The woman is a treasure.

J.A.M. - Ladies, please resolve a dispute I am having with my SO right now....GOOP was the best looking woman on the Red Carpet...and poor Cameron Diaz is looking, well, more weathered (and sun burned) than usual. (I think he just thinks GOOP is sooooo annoying, which she is, that he can't see her glam last night!)

GOOP looked incredible. I am still in the midst of my 10 best red carpet dresses post, which will go live post-chat. And that one is definitely on it.

Was that dress a little too big? I know it wasn't meant to be as tight as a lot of the others (and good for her on that), but it looked a little as if no one had time to take it in. I liked that even a few women under 50 didn't feel the need to go bare shouldered. V necklines are flattering on a lot of body shapes.

When I saw it on screen, I thought that it looked a little odd-fitting...but when she came back to the press room, it actually looked impeccable. I dunno. Camera tricks?

So which celebrities blew you off, and which were nice?

There was a lot of blowing off, not out of meanness, purely due to where I was on the carpet -- right outside the entrance to the theater, in a spot that was brand new to the carpet this year.

We screamed for Jason Segel and he ran in with an apology, which saddened me. (It was still early, Jason Segel!) 

I'm also writing a "What it was like on the red carpet" post for the blog (still to come, people!), in which I will recount Busy Phillips taking a reporter to task for not knowing that Michelle Williams has received an Oscar nomination before. (Williams was perfectly sweet about it, but Busy was not having it.)

Bret McKenzie was nice. Melissa McCarthy, as always, was nice but she had to race in, too. The red carpet is all about position and when yours' isn't so hot, the Brad Pitts escape you.

In other sad news, I never got to see Bradley Cooper. I know. It's upsetting for all of us. 

Has anyone ever done a statistical study that the Oscar voters like movies that are about movies? Artist and Hugo won 10 awards.

I'm sure there are such studies, and it's a truism that the Academy tends to reward projects about Hollywood -- to which last night's nominees attest. Not just "Hugo" and "The Artist," but "War Horse," Michelle Williams in "My Week With Marilyn" -- all were drenched in movie-industry nostalgia. Combined with the Kodak Theater having to be re-named because a *film* company has gone bankrupt, the entire effect was almost elegaic for a bygone art form/industry.

This movie and its actors should never have been listed as nominees. When the supporting actors were announced and clips were shown last night, it was so clear that Ms. Spencer is not "the best" actor... Nor was her co-star in that film the "best actress." This movie was listed because of white guilt...that blacks and others are NEVER included in most Hollywood films unless they are playing maids or whores. The trend continues. It was laughable that Morgan Freeman was trotted out at the beginning of the show to "announce" the show...even though it had already begun. That happened because on Oscar night what is very clear to blacks and others throughout the year, becomees all too clear to whites.....that white people are the only ones who are in front of or behind the camera. To whites, other races just don't seem to exist. This is shameful. 2012!!!! Hollywood is still celebrating Hattie McDaniles.... Please, can't we do better.

I hear you. I had a *big* problem with "The Help," which I found revisionist bordering on insulting...Although I thought both Viola Davis and Octavia Spencer did outstanding jobs making their characters fully-rounded human beings within an otherwise simplistic portrait -- that, I agree, flattered its white audience. I'm rooting for Davis to win her award for a better role (how about Fannie Lou Hamer, who was doing such courageous work in Mississippi at the exact same time "The Help" takes place?).

Just a few quick thoughts, but did Jonah Hill look very uncomfortable throughout the whole show, or is it just me? And I think we could easily have done without Justin Bieber in the Billy Crystal intro. Not to be blunt, but the 18- to 24-year-old age group is actually too old for Justin Bieber's demographic.

I think that is just Jonah's way. I saw him several times at the Vanity Fair party later on and he always looked a wee bit startled. Charming, though.

Perhaps I'm missing something, but why did Octavia Spencer get a standing ovation for her award? Christopher Plummer I can understand, but why Octavia Spencer? I found that one rather puzzling.

The Help was a divisive movie -- some people thought it was middling, but those who loved it, loooooved it. Add in the emotionality of a woman of color winning a nod for a movie that was about the Civil Rights movement? I get it.

Has any dramatic portrayal of a gay character not won the Oscar? Plummer last night, Penn as Harvey Milk, Hanks in Philadelphia, Hoffman in Capote? Am I blanking on any?

Franco in "Milk." Did not win.

Heath Ledger in "Brokeback Mountain," who up against Hoffman, did not win. Felicity Huffman in "Transamerica" -- did not win. There are many others I am sure.

Monica, your thoughts on Meryl Streep's win for playing Margaret Thatcher, who some have said became far more queen-like in her demeanor than HRH?

I was a huge fan of this performance. Obviously. God Save the Queen And Other Elderly British Ladies.

Is the near sweep by the Artist and Hugo show that Hollywood is trapped in the past as it struggles to adapt?

Well, one could argue that both of those movies ultimately embrace change, "The Artist" in terms of what happens in the plot and "Hugo" with its use of 3D.

I liked both of those films, but I think the fact that they came in the same year was a quirky coincidence, but one that played nicely in terms of giving awards season a cohesive theme. And as far as the sweeps, I think that just speaks to the movies this year. As good as both films were, I would say this wasn't the strongest cinema year in recent memory. 

Has he really gone downhill so quickly? Or was he on meds/not on meds? He looked like an Oompah Loompah.

When I saw him on the red carpet, I didn't recognize him at first. I thought it was Nolte, but I had to look very closely to be sure.

I would not say he looked like an Oompah Loompah, though.

As a 50 plus film goer, I'm frankly insulted by all the whining about the age of the Academy members, performers (Crystal) and winners (Streep, Plummer). They, like me, have worked hard to get where they are and deserve to have influence and power and to be rewarded for all the years they put in. The Academy tried two young and hip hosts last year, and they were terrible. As for younger, non-white, female Academy members, they will get their memberships as their accomplishments grow. I'm tired of younger people assuming that I'm stupid and slow just because I have grey hair.

I don't think the argument has to do with stupidity or slowness. It has to do with the perceptions and experiences that you bring to the table. I'm all for rewarding experience, but the argument that you're making is basically an inverse of what currently has your knickers in a twist: "Young people are stupid and don't deserve to have a say."

Furthermore, if a club is comprised of any one group, they are more likely to favor things that benefit and reflect that group. It's why it took us so long to allow women to vote, and to ban slavery. Because the people who benefited from the arrangement saw no need for it to change. Women and minorities might value different films than older white men. But we can't get them into the Academy unless their films win awards. And they might not win awards because older white men don't see the value of the works. It's incredibly cyclical.


I am enjoying your Oscar coverage. I did want to point out that Ingrid Bergman also won three Oscars (two lead actress and one best supporting actress). She was left out of the page 1 summary of most winning performers today. I was glad to see Meryl Streep join that list. She consistently turns in one amazing performance after another and people seem to take it for granted. Plus it was the only surprise of the evening!

That was an error that we caught shortly after the first edition -- so it's right in some places, wrong in others, and we apologize everywhere for the error.

She was definitely trying to be sexy, which is weird and seems kind of desperate. She doesn't need to try to be sexy. And trying to be sexy is usually guarantees you won't be - even if you look like her.


was my favorite. She looked spectacularly sexy and like she didn't starve herself or go through a massive colon-blow (Paltrow).

Maya was lovely. All the Bridesmaids ladies were. Ellie Kemper in person was a princess.

Looked great, and actually did the award show banter pretty well with Ben Stiller.

Agreed. She has brilliant comedic timing.

Am I the only one who thought Octavia Spencer was severely shortchanged on her acceptance speech? It's not like I had a stopwatch going, but it seemed like Christopher Plummer (very deserving) went longer than she did and no one tried to give him the hook. How about less presenter banter (almost always forced and awkward) and more time to hear from the most important people there -- the winners?

I agree in theory. Accept that the winners, given more time, would probably end up finding 40 or 50 more people to thank. Really, thank you's need to be banned from the acceptance speeches. Tell a story, sing a song, pontificate on your philosophy of life. But do not thank your agent again, so help me. Bo-ring.

Am I the only one who thought Michelle William's coral dress was ugly? Both Nina Garcia and Tim Gunn gushed about it. But I thought it wasn't a flattering color or silhouette.

I see your point about the silhouette based on how it looks in some of the photos. But in person, it was so pretty.

I thought the dress was gorgeous, and she looked (as always) beautiful. But the constant, exagerrated posing, on the stage as well as the red carpet? Ugh, what a turn-off.

If we published every question/comment about Angelina Jolie and her leg, we'd be here until next Tuesday.

Clearly that thigh has tapped into a long-gestating frustration. Or maybe people just don't like pretension, and the leg thing seemed forced and pretentious.

Whatever the case may be, I am sure the world will continue turning even though Angelina Jolie's leg now has its own Twitter feed.

I saw the show, know who won and who lost, don't have much to say about it and don't need discussion of it. What I REALLY want to know, Jen and Monica, is what you guys did afterward, what parties you went to, who'd you see, what was the buzz, all the cool after-prom stuff. And also, tell me this: Is covering these things really fun, or is it some sort of extended nightmare? As a reader I can't always tell whether it's fun or whether you'd rather be home sleeping.

Ok, I'll start. Afterwards, I went to the Governor's Ball and my account of the proceedings there can be found here.

At the Gov. Ball, it was very fun to see people getting their names affixed to their Oscars. I also had a nice chat with Melissa McCarthy and her husband, Ben Falcone, who are just as nice as you'd expect. 

As far as covering these things, it's an honor and privilege to go to the Oscars. I recognize it again every time I show up here and see that red carpet. But it is tiring and frustrating at times. And you definitely miss a lot of the show, if not most of it. So it's hard to feel part of the cultural conversation because, for example, I didn't get to see Sacha Baron Coen dump ashes on Ryan Seacrest. I feel horribly left out because of this.

There is something to be said for watching at home in lounge wear, but it's also, as I mentioned, an incredible opportunity to, say, bump into an Oscar winner (Octavia Spencer) as I did last night, and have her say, "Hey, how are you?" (She remembered me from an interview earlier this year.) 

It's a wonderful nightmare. I covered the Royal Wedding earlier this year, and this felt very similar. I'd explain it this way: In five years, I will do nothing but gush about the wonderful time I had. But in the middle of it all, it can be panic inducing. You're worried about meeting deadlines, you're worried about missing quotes, you're worried about being funny and informative, you're worried about getting lost, or your technology breaking, or your copy being bad. It's work -- which makes it easy to miss the glorious stuff happening around you.

That being said, I spent four hours traipsing around the Sunset Towers last night, feet away from actors I have admired for years. Jobs really do not get any better than that. As for who I saw? Best go read my story here. It's already fading too quickly from memory.

Okay, this is kind of a silly question, but what is it like to be so close to such famous faces? If you were to see them and not know who they were would you be equally as impressed? I guess what I am getting at is if there really is such a thing as "Star Quality."

I think there is such a thing as star quality, although not every star has it, or at least has it turned on in every circumstance.

At the Oscars, though, everyone looks extra-gleaming. Meeting a famous person under normal circumstances vs. at the Oscars is sort of like what your house looks like on a regular day vs. how it looks all decorated and lit up for Christmas.

Everybody gleams and glistens more.

Monica, your piece on the Vanity Fair party had me LOLing at my desk, inappropriately. Especially re: J Lo.

Thank you. J. Lo is magnificent. They are all so magnificent in person -- some of them in elven, ethereal ways, some of them in bold, brassy ways, and some of them just look like aliens.

Let's not forget she's considered the greatest actress of her generation. So how would we know if she was acting humble or really was? I don't have any reason to assume she's not sincere, but I'm just saying it's quite possible.

That Streep -- so darn good she just might be tricking us!

I cringe for him each time someone mentions his weight loss. Does he really need to be reminded that, when his name comes up, people think just of "that fat guy" -- and that his less-portly self is a surprise? On behalf of plumper people everywhere, let's notice his style, his comedy, his good looks -- without the fat qualifiers. Jeesh!

Yeah. I think that's what probably made him squirm at the ceremony. Nobody wants to be The Artist Formerly Known as Fat Jonah.

um, why?

Because it's what respectable journalists have to do on the red carpet to get people to come over and talk. I'm not proud of it, it's just how it works.

Love her but her bangs in her face were distracting. I noticed a few other women with heavy bangs - is that the new style?

I hope so. I have them now. My bangs and I are learning to deal with each other.

As in many industries, I have occasion to attend award events. When a winner is announced, they usually express gratitude in full sentences with a minimum of histrionics. Granted, the awards are not broadcast to millions of people, but why do experienced players in the entertainment industry become blubbering fools when they accept awards? Shouldn't they be experienced in performing before a crowd and not become so flustered?

I totally agree, and pine for those long-lost days of short, dignified thank-you speeches (I've always like the one Alec Guinness delivered, I think when he received a lifetime achievement Oscar; and Steven Soderbergh's was really good when he won for "Traffic." Hank Stuever makes a good case for brushing up on thank-you skills in his review today.

looks like she's traveled a long, hard-partying road. Yuck. And then she opens her mouth and speaks... well, it's all downhill from there. Please make her go away.

She knew how to party at the party last night. And not in a drinky-boozy way. She just genuinely appeared to be having a good time. Lots of laughing, bobbing to the music, throwing her arms around folks in friendly bear hugs. She looked like she'd be a hoot to hang out with.

I swear I didn't see you. I read you all the time. I will look for you next year, now that I know you are there. (Is this working?)

No. It is not.

I have to say, when I saw Cooper sitting behind Streep during the telecast, all I could think was: that guy lost the Streep round in the movie game to me! If only Meryl knew! (Actually, my epic fail in the Freeman round was way more humiliating.)


I have no problem with Meryl's win per se, but the sad thing is Viola Davis, who (along with Octavia Spencer) was the ONLY saving grace of The Help, will probably not have the opportunity to win again. Meryl should have won for Julie & Julia--instead of Sandra Bullock.

Why do you say that? Viola's a terrific actress. Hopefully this nomination will only open more doors for her, and we'll see her back on a ballot soon.

Especially thanking her husband first made it feel like the speech was a swan song of sorts. And yes, that film was unspectacular, so I'm surprised she won.

Well. The honor rewards the performance, not the film -- though it can be hard to separate the two.

I'm not sure that she thought of it as a swan song, so much as she wanted to make sure she was squared away in case she never won again. After all, there were 30 years between this win and the last...

Hatie McDaniel won her Oscar for playing a slave, not a "maid"....

Very good point, and thank you for making it.

In both cases, though, subordinate characters to rich, white women. A crucial difference between slave and maid, true, but I think the point the chatter was making was that Davis didn't win because she played a subordinate character and the Academy did not want to reward that because of McDaniel. So I was just trying to say that Spencer's win refutes that point.

Wait, you were in the same room with Chevy Chase, and you didn't interview him?

You can't interview hardly anybody in these settings. You can merely smile, nod, observe, move on, surreptitiously steal Chevy's drinking straw, you know, that sort of thing.

I have a different spin on Streep beating Davis. So often, people argue against Streep winning because it's someone else's year or turn and Streep will have another chance. An example is Sandra Bullock. The thinking being that Streep turns in a performance every year that could win and other actresses might not tha get their shot. Viola Davis is such a commanding actress and maybe in her case they figured she WILL be great again and will get another shot, but Streep is in her sixties and they should give her one now already. Kind of shuts down the whole Streep needs one argument for good. Because I do think people make calculations like that rather than just judge performances. against each other.

Interesting theory! It will be fun to see what she does next and whether the Academy responds in kind.

I agree. I think people calculate as well, in addition to evaluating the performance based solely on its merits. And often, I am glad for that, especially when long-deserving non-winners finally win.

I'm sorry, did I miss something, or is hilarious black face back in vogue? On a night that should have seen two award winning African American actresses (I love Meryl, but come on, that movie was horrendous), we have to sit through a has-been former funny-man (sort of) don black face and do an impersonation of the late great Sammy Davis, Jr.? How is this acceptable in today's day and age? Oh, and he made a 9/11 joke - "Hanks is a Memory..." Hahaha. Great stuff, Billy. At least you smugly laughed at your own tired jokes, no one else was...

As probably the oldest person here, I think the Sammy Davis, Jr. bit was resurrected from the same thing Crystal did on "Saturday Night Live" waaaay back in the day. I too thought the "Hanks is a memory" thing was bizarre. (Then again, I had trouble with the entire movie, so maybe I'm not objective!)

Yes, the Sammy Davis thing was an SNL bit. I wasn't quite sure why he was in Midnight in Paris, aside from the fact that Crystal can impersonate him well.

For that reason, I didn't think of it as a blackface routine because it's a bit Crystal used to do. Whether it worked or not is open to criticism.

I was completely convinced she was high when she first arrived on stage. What a pleasant surprise when she skewered Ben Stiller!

She was a delight. No question about it.

I don't know what the competition was, and do plan to see it, but it's under 50% approval on both Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, w/60 and 66% audience approval, both pretty low for an Oscar winner. Just make sure you don't go to see the same-name Sarah Pallin doc!

Wow I didn't realize that. It's hard to imagine someone *not* liking this film...or maybe I'm just a soft touch! If you're in the D.C. area, it's arriving here on Friday (Mar. 2). I'd recommend checking it out!

I liked it very much, too. If you loved the show "Friday Night Lights," as I did, it's right up your alley (or in your field goal range?).

This was honestly one of the most boring Oscars I can remember. I don't know a single person who saw Hugo, versus everyone I know saw Harry Potter. A shame it won nothing. I don't entirely understand the voting on technical categories. Is it all industry-insider driven?

I was quite surprised that the Academy didn't send poor Harry off with any kind of thank-you for buoying up the entire industry for the past ten years! Might have been nice!

Additionally, the neglect meant that there was no Radcliffe/Grint duo for me to stalk later. Sadness all around.

I was shocked when Kelly Ripa announced that their poll had declared her best dressed. Really? I thought the dress was unflattering and insanely tacky. Guess I'm out of touch. And doesn't Emma Stone look drop dead gorgeous in what used to be Lindsay Lohan's career?



Let me please help Jen Chaney and Monica Hesse out. Look around your hotel room for clues. Is there a live tiger or a dead man in your man? Check the dead man, he might still be alive. Use these clues to reconstruct what happened last night.

Um, that was Vegas. Not Los Angeles.

Also, we were not drunk last night.

Anyone else tired of the trend of nude 'body stocking' parts of dresses? I'm talking about dresses that can't logistically stay up on their own, so they use that nude hose to hold the structure: Guliana, JLo (arms), Kate Hudson (afterparty), etc. It's skater-y!

It is totally ice-skatery. I never would have thought of tt on my own, but you're so right. From now on, I think we should say that all women partaking of this trend have "Kerriganed." Who's with me? Let's make this happen.

How cute is this guy? Is he as nice as he seems? I felt sad for him when he didn't get thanked in Man/Mupphet acceptance speech. He reminded me of Chad Lowe when Hilary Swank won the Oscar.

Aw. I didn't get to talk to him last night, but I have met him and interviewed him and he is, indeed, so adorable it hurts.

Here is evidence.


Except for Capote, every time a actor or actress wins an Academy Award for portraying a character who is the gay, that character always dies before the end of the film.

Intriguing. I can't back this up, but I will be researching this after the chat.

Yes, yes. If someone had the guts to make a film of "This Little Light of Mine," a biography of Hamer from some years back, it would make an extraordinary movie. Here was a woman who grew up in the most deprived circumstances imaginable and fought to get voting rights for African-Americans in Mississippi and then took on the entire Democratic Party over the seating of the Mississippi delegation to the Democratic Convention. Hers is one of America's great stories of courage and perseverance.

Let's start the campaign *now*!

Like Ann, I gave up on the Oscars when the unprintably bad Crash won out over Brokebake Moountain and sveral other excellent entries, in a yearwhen the equally excellent Syriana wasn't even nominated. So I now watch with a seriously jaundiced eye. I saw all of this year's entries except War Horse and don't understand the fuss about The Artist. It's a nice black and white movie that I had to see twice because I slept through ,much of it the first time. My late parents, who would be over 100, probably enjoyed watching similar movies when they were courting. So, what am I missing? None of them really jumped ou at me this year, but probably would have gone with The Descendants.

Like most things, the movies are cyclical (I thought last year's line-up was incredibly strong and boded well for the future of cinema)...Plus, Oscar movies do tend to occupy a narrow niche in moviedom -- not the mega-budget blockbusters Hollywood makes its living on, not truly innovative, risk-taking "art". Instead, they're the films the industry wants to congratulate itself for making, which tend to be not all that exciting. I agree it wasn't a scintillating year, but on the other hand, I'm glad a lot of those movies got made (like "The Descendants," "Moneyball" and the Woody Allen and Terrence Malick pictures).

For awards to A Separation (a truly amazing film) and the animated and live action short selections. As far as I could tell, the nominated documentary shorts only played at the West End, which is inaccessible to me. Too bad.,

Glad you got to see them (and sorry about the documentary shorts). I was happy to see "The Shore" win, I really liked that short film, although I was also knocked out by the ingenuity and editing prowess of "Time Freak." At a time when the Grammy's are cutting tons of categories, nice to see the Academy still supporting filmmakers working in other countries and time frames!

I'm going to wait for "The Artist" to come out on DVD, so I can watch with the subtitles turned on.

Oh, you. I see what you're doing there.

What did YOU wear last night? I'm sure you all looked smashing!

I wore an ivory dress (high in front, low in back), a pair of purple peep-toe pumps, and a champagne-colored clutch. Considering that I already owned the dress and the shoes beforehand, the only dough I shelled out for my Oscars look was for the purse. I got it from Ross. For 49 cents on clearance.

I can vouch for the fact that Monica looked very pretty.

I wore the same blue dress I wore two years ago and ended up wearing my coat over it for most of the day because I was cold.

Here's a photo from early in the day, when it was still warm.

Sandy baby, why so glum, chum? (Perhaps German jokes are not the best idea given her ex? Just sayin.)

I think Sandra Bullock has mastered the awards show gestalt. Whether she's giving or receiving or shmoozing on the red carpet, she always hits the perfect balance of irreverence and class. Her mom really *was* German, so that bit didn't strike me as off-kilter at all.

That bit was one of my favorites in the show, just for it's oddity.

For the first time ever, I have no major disagreements with their selections,m although for some eason I didn't much like Beginners (although I guess it was a good performance) and, despite its numerous other honors, the Artist was not at the top of my list. However, I've already seen The Umdefeated and, despite the inspiring story, did not think it was very well done. Maybe this was a thin year for documentaries? But all in all, good job.

I'm sorry you didn't enjoy "Beginners," it made my personal Top Ten list for 2011! And unlike you, I thought "Undefeated" was extremely well done -- but by my lights the documentary nominees this year weren't representative of the best of a year that included "Senna," "Buck," "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" and "The Interrupters." Very strange that they were all snubbed.

Who will win the Razzies? Seems like Adam Sandler is golden with 11 noms this year. But which one to honor?

I haven't seen Jack and Jill, but from the reviews I've seen, we can go ahead and give both the male and the female razzie this year, for both of his roles.

I get that this is an industry night, and it's a lot more entertaining than it should necessarily have to be (the National Insurance Salesmen Awards [or whatever] probably aren't that entertaining to non-insurance salesman). But Hank Steuver's last line in his article hit the nail on the head: the academy and stars seem to have no care for nor appreciation of the audience, which is the only reason it is what it is. The broadcast showed that, as did all the speeches, and it explains part of the reason they're alienating so many audiences.

That is a fair point. Absolutely.

I also still think it will always be a little boring no matter what. But acknowledging people outside of the venue -- which is something you see more often during the Grammys and at other awards shows -- would be nice. How often did you hear anyone last night say, I'm so appreciative of the fans of our work? Hardly at all.

You stole Chevy Chase's straw? You are one of us!

That was an exaggeration. So sorry to disappoint. I belong to many nerd cultures, but Community is not one of them. I was just trying to point out the access that you typically get in a party such as this one.

Along with Billy's no-longer-the-Kodak Theatre jokes, and Chris Rock, it was the best laugh of the evening. It never occurred to me once that she wasnt trying to be funny and maybe make fun of herself a bit. If that's not true, then these H'wood folk take themselves WAY too seriously...


I'll admit, I didn't see the full leg (was filing something at the time), but I think self-mocking is a good way to read the situation.

I'd like a fashion reporter to judge the red carpet based on E! and ABC broadcast video. Because it really seems like you all are seeing something completely different in person than we are at home.

I think there is a difference, for sure. And ultimately, how people look in the photos and video is what matters because that is what everybody else sees.

But examining how those two viewpoints don't always synch up is interesting to me.

Rooney Mara -- What's up with her? Why is she always so sullen on the red carpet? Is she trying to stay in character or is that her real personality?

You have to remember that Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is really her only major film role -- before that it was a few bit parts. It could be that she's still learning this whole fame thing. I agree that it can come across as a bit awkward, but I'd rather have someone be awkward on their own terms than be a cookie cutter of everyone else.

Spot on comments about the fumbling acceptance speeches. Plummer's was exactly what such a speech should be, and I hope if either Jen or Monica encountered him, he was splendid in person. Monica: great article about the VF Party, especially on a lightening turnaround and no sleep. Are you both going out to the Santa Monica pier and stare at the ocean the rest of the afternoon?

Not me. I still have more writing to do. This is partly my fault, as I feel asleep on my laptop at 1 a.m. PT/4 a.m. ET in the middle of a blog post.

I clearly lack Monica's stamina. But she's younger than I am and therefore more spry.

it's not like it was his most popular or famous bit from SNL, and it's very outdated and seemed apropos of nothing. I'd think his Fernando "You look marvelous" bit would have been more suitable. Or even better, how about not using jokes that are older than half the viewers.

I wish he had done the "I hate when that happens" guy. That would have been so amazingly random that it might actually have worked


Thanks on Vanity Fair. Alas, Mr. Plummer didn't make the rounds. But in the press room, where Jen and I both saw him, he was every bit as delightful as on stage.

As for the rest of the afternoon -- I'm thinking of walking to the Johnny Rockets down the street from the hotel and staring into a milk shake. I still haven't been to sleep yet.

Octavia was sitting next to a fabulous-looking man, with whom she seemed very affectionate and who helped her up to the stage. In her acceptance speech, she thanked someone for sitting her next to the best looking man in the theatre. Any idea who he is was?

That was Tate Taylor, her longtime friend and director of "The Help."

There is a nice tribute to Hattie McDaniel at Hollywood Forever. Yet I was told she is buried in a pauper's grave. I was wondering why this is, so I searched Google (because it has to be true if it is on the Internet), and I read her family wants her to remain buried where she is. I do not know their reason, but it strikes me as interesting that the respect she was denied as a Black woman during her lifetime remains in death.

Fascinating. Not knowing anything at all about the situation, maybe that's exactly the point: It's no fair to pretend that Hattie was treated differently than she was. Maybe her grave remains a symbol of her struggle?

Admittedly I haven't seen Hugo, but I thought Tree of Life was robbed of the cinematography nomination. We could debate the merits of the plot till we're blue in the face, but the visuals of that film were nothing short of amazing (as is the case with all of Terrence Malick's films). S I found it rather stunning that it lost the award to Hugo.

Yes I thought for sure that Chivo Lubezki would take the Oscar for "Tree of Life." That said, I'm a *huge* fan of Robert Richardson, and his work with 3-D was nothing short of amazing. I was actually surprised that "Hugo" took as many technical awards as it did.

Ann, great piece on how the Oscars can be saving flms like this one. We can hope! I really thought it was an excellent, "adult" (in the non-porn sense) movie, with uuiformly good acting and unexpected twists and turns. The Artist was OK, but reminded me of retrospectives on silent films I saw as a child. Or maybe that was the point?

Thank you! And happy you caught up with "The Descendants." (For lack of a better term, we call these movies "adult dramas," but as you note, that's uncomfortable close to "adult film"; any other ideas for terminology are welcome!) I agree that the strongest element of "The Descendants" was its unpredictability; I can't remember the last time I was that surprised by where a story took me. And so sure-footed. Glad they got some Oscar love last night (even though Payne's co-writers could have been more gracious up there).

Chatters, I must bid you adieu -- I need to get to a screening. See you in 364 days (or 5, considering Leap Year), Happy Movies till then!

We can't possibly answer all of these questions, much as we'd like to, mainly because we are running on even less brain power than usual.

Thanks for all your great questions and comments. I'll be back to chat more during Thursday's usual Celebritology chat. Now, over to Ms. Hesse...

 Thanks for letting us reminisce about our foggy evenings. I'm off to go catch some zzz's and some french fries. FYI, I also regularly chat on Wednesdays at 2. Stop on by in a couple days for any burning questions we didn't have time to get to here. 


Long live Oscar.

In This Chat
Jen Chaney
Also 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
Ann Hornaday
Monica Hesse
Monica Hesse is a staff writer for the Post Style section. She frequently writes about culture, the Web and the intersection of the two.

Read the The Web Hostess Archive .
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