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Oscar Pulls Another All-Nighter

When you're hot, you're hot: Al Gore with Sheryl Crow and his wife, Tipper.
When you're hot, you're hot: Al Gore with Sheryl Crow and his wife, Tipper. (By Danny Moloshok -- Associated Press)

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By William Booth and Hank Stuever
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, February 27, 2007

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 26

Bar. Bar. Bar. We claw onto a corner spot like exhausted little flying squirrels, keen for a drink. Then our radar blips. Oscar!

There is a statuette, just sitting there on the counter, and we begin to pet it, nice kitty, nice kitty, and a bulk of tux turns and we are face-to-face with William Monahan, winner for Best Adapted Screenplay for transforming the Hong Kong crime thriller "Infernal Affairs" into "The Departed."

Monahan is hairy, scary. William, we loved your "valium does work" bit in the acceptance speech, and Monahan says, "It was just a line, man. I didn't have any." Not like we were trying to score a pill, not us. "You can touch it," Monahan says. "Just don't drop it." (Whoops.)

Now deeper, not just in but all the way in -- keep on going as far as you can into Vanity Fair's post-Oscar party at Morton's. Yes, yes, there's Gwen Stefani, that's very nice, the hair in a chignon, but now focus. Keep pushing forward through the sinewy throngs. Rub your chest against Kyle MacLachlan's and try not to think eww and place your hand gently, too briefly, on Naomi Watts's bare shoulder as a gesture of pardon-me-Miss and go ahead and think ahhhh.

Work your way past Jennifer Hudson (God, she's happy) and the helpful man apparently designated to hold the train of her dress all night (is this the boyfriend of eight years we hear so much about but never see?). Trip over something short and up-past-bedtime and hope against hope it isn't cute little Abigail Breslin, or Jaden Smith, or a wee documentarian. Bypass even our one shot to buttonhole Leo DiCaprio and figure out once and for all if he's just bad at chitchat or really is, as one wag remarked, "a human rain delay." Back to the farthest corner of the farthest room . . .

Feel the air get sharper?

Friend, you have entered the Oprahsphere.

She could buy and sell everyone in this room, and that is why everyone is making their way back to see her. She is sitting on a sofa as far away from the party entrance as you can get, in her black gown accented with ribbonlike rainbow stripes, surrounded by people who just need to see her, touch her, perchance to receive beneficent hugs from her. Forest Whitaker remains in the Oprahsphere most of the night. So does John Travolta. Tyra Banks, positively Amazonian around so many bony celebs, moves about in a dangerously tight red gown. We get as close as we can and wave to Oprah Winfrey like old friends.

She waves back.

All is validated.

And to think we were worried this year, all these Vanity Fair parties later. The giant ficus walls, the airborne heli-razzis, the looky-loos screaming from the street to be let in. The telltale whiff of doobage and the inevitable Bill Maher joke that follows. The twiggy actresses conspicuously eating, perhaps trying to convince us that they do actually feed. The same old finger-point-hey-ya from Vince Vaughn.


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