Party On, Oscar

In the waking dream of Oscar parties: Madonna with Guy Ritchie at the Vanity Fair fete. (Chris Pizzello -- Associated Press)
By William Booth and Hank Stuever
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, March 7, 2006


Sweetie, wake up. Weird dream we just had, gotta tell you about it, gotta figure out what it means , and like usual, Madonna was in it. It started normal -- the pre-show, all that cleavage and amazing dental work, then the show-show, and the cramped press dungeons of the Kodak Theatre, and that familiar sweatiness beneath our snug tuxedos, and finally, the cool night air and the party circuit.

We're on our way into Vanity Fair's wingding at Morton's on Melrose, past those sculpted topiaries spelling out "Vanity Fair" that we have come to love so, for they represent the cush life, and we notice that people are leaving, and it's not yet midnight, but that's how it always goes: Philip Seymour Hoffman is making a beeline for his ride. Reese and Ryan are waving goodbye, with that get-home-and-pay-the-babysitters look. (We heard they have, like, 16 on staff.) Then, right in front of our oafy faces: Madonna.

No, no, no, this isn't like the other Madonna dreams we told you about.

This one was reeeeeeeeeal. Understand that we are mostly blase about famous people, see 'em all the time, write chatty little profiles of them when their new moobies come out. We play it especially cool once we get behind a velvet rope. That's because famous people want you to be blase, they want you to pretend they're normal, and you oblige.

But Ma-freakin'-donna. C'mon. That's another level -- pope and Beatle-not-Ringo level. Even the most tippy-toppest celeb wranglers are atwitter. She and her husband, Guy Ritchie, came, saw, went. (She was heard to say "oy" after experiencing a press photobarrage going in, but that was the Esther talking.) And there they go, back out into the flashbulbs, toward a limo. She's wearing a pink party dress and that '70s curling-iron hairdo she's unfortunately fond of. We feel our knees buckle slightly. And we check a very big, decades-old item off our Things To Do list, one that's been on there since high school:

Come within four feet of Madonna.

Done and done.

And in!

In at VF -- where we are politely informed that we are extra-special lucky this year to be here because VF slimmed down the invite list -- by 500 names. (Total attendance was about 1,000.) That is a lot of hurt. But nature, as we know from watching the penguins, can be cruel. Still, if some had to suffer for more elbow room at the bar, so be it. The benefits are obvious: You can breathe. There's a nice peachy glow of light across the room. This party is where all P's are V and I. We easily acquire our much-needed drinkypoo.

Ah, the elbow room -- couches, couches everywhere! For the sprawling actress-kittens Keira Knightley and Sienna Miller. You think they look good standing up? You should see them lying down. Head spinning, we flop down and break the ice with John Leguizamo, you know, my, this couch is comfortable. "Don't I know, bro," he says. "Rest your dogs awhile." We begin to say how much we admire his character on "ER," yap, yap, yap. Then -- Tora! Tora! Tora! -- coming right at our couch, Jennifer Lopez, a vision wrapped in green, and we say a silent prayer: Please sit down. But she comes right up to Leguizamo and starts shooshing her chiffon gown back and forth and teasing him, baby, baby, let's dance.

And then it hits us: We are sitting next to Marc Anthony. That would be her husband.

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