Monday, Feb. 26 , 2 p.m. ET

Academy Awards: The Social Scene

William Booth and Hank Stuever
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, February 26, 2007; 2:00 PM

Want to know what really happened behind the scenes at the Oscars? Which celebs shined and which were behaving badly?

From the red carpet to backstage to the after-parties, Style staff writers William Booth and Hank Stuever have the scoop on what really went down during Hollywood's biggest night.

They were online Monday, Feb. 26, at 2 p.m. ET to answer your questions and dish all the Oscar dirt.

A transcript follows


William Booth: Howdy friends. Wow. That was just ... a long night. So lets get to it. Hank is just about to join us...


Pittsburgh: I understand that Elton John hosted an Oscars "viewing party." I also understand that there were quite a few of these viewing parties hosted around town. What happens at these things, other than people sitting around and watching the show on TV? Is there an A-list vs B- or C-list of these types of parties? How formal/informal are they?

William Booth: Yes.. They have viewing parties around town. They'd be ABC as you surmised. Elton did his again last night (and we sent Sonya Geis to cover), so it'll be in our Oscar party story tomorrow. What happens? Drinking, eating, watching -- with the TV on in the background!


Alexandria, Va.: Why did Jack Nicholson have his head shaved?

Hank Stuever: Hi everyone. Jack did not pull a Britney and shave whatever he has left for a kookoo reason. He's in a movie with Morgan Freeman and they play cancer patients who are about to die and decide to spend their last days on a road trip. It's called the "Bucket List" or something like that, I think.

Anyhoo, we're here and we like to hear your snark about last night...


Silly question: Who gets more sloshed -- the winners or losers? Or do the losers even show at these after-parties?

William Booth: The celebrities with drinking problems usually get the most sloshed. As for winners and losers, they both tend to drink deeply from the well. But the winners are happy drunks and the losers tend to mumble more darkly. Or they're like Jackie Earle Haley, who doesn't drink, and was just beaming and pleased that he was at the dance.


Hartford, Conn.: Can you talk about Jodie Foster mentioning the passing of her "best friend" Randy Stone two weeks ago? He was not a part of the in memoriam montage. Who was he, and what was their connection? Thanks.

Hank Stuever: Randy Stone was a casting director. Some people also think he was the father/donor of her kids, but I've never seen that confirmed -- anyone ever read that as reported fact?


Jacksonville, Fla.: If "Ms. Degenerate" cannot wear a dress she should not host a formal event!

William Booth: That's a little rough. She'd look crazy in a dress. She never does. In the past, women have come to the Oscar, including heterosexual women, in tailored tuxes. Now, if she'd wore shorts as threatened ...


Washington, D.C.: Hi guys!

1. Assuming the stars have been made up to look great on TV, do they look scary in real-life?

2. Where does one go to get a nicotine fix at an Oscar party in smoke-free California?

William Booth: 2. At the show, they have a little secret corner. At the parties, since they're private, they just blow smoke right there.


Washington, D.C.: I'm a 33-year-old woman with a wicked Teen Beat style crush on Leonardo Dicaprio. Please tell me something terrible you witnessed so as to make this thing go away. It's so distracting.

William Booth: Well, he's shy. Handsome, rich, talented, available. Does that help?


Gore?: Were people fawning all over all Gore? It seems to me that he doth protest too much about not running -- and he's just waiting for the right time to enter the race.

William Booth: The Goracle was getting the love-vibe big time. Now, perhaps that's because he's not running for office?


Sloshed: So, was Helen Mirren sloshed last night?

Hank Stuever: I forgot to bring my celebrity breathalyzer with me. Mirren told the audience backstage that she already had a vodka gimlet waiting for her at the Oscarbar back in that green-green-green room. I never saw her at VF. That party was very crowded, in a more happy way than usual, last night. You could be standing next to some seriously famous people and not even know it, just wishing they would move so you could.


Pie Town, N.M.:: Why did they seat Clive Owen up front (beside the Mirren-Hackfords) when "Children of Men" got robbed? And why -did- "Children of Men" get robbed?

And thanks for Oscaring so we don't have to.

Hank Stuever: I don't know, but I agree -- I thought "Children of Men" was one of the three or four best movies of 2006. Clive Owen was at VF last night, and a very calm, nice, friendly fellow.

As for why he sits where he sits, we are not privy to those particular tea leaves.


Washington, D.C.: Why didn't Eddie Murphy win? He was the favorite.

William Booth: We think he was the favorite early, and then the late-charging Alan Arkin nipped him by a nose at the finish.


Gaithersburg, Md.: Okay, you asked for snark... Do those incredibly thin actresses in form-fitting clothes actually eat at the Governor's Ball? I'm wondering because I think after a few bites of Wolfgang's all organic fare we'd be speculating about their "bumps."

William Booth: Bumps are beautiful.


Shy, handsome, rich, talented, and available: That decidedly does not help -- but even as a lie it will get me through the afternoon. Enabler.

William Booth: Oh, and he is working hard every day to save the planet.


In your opinion...: Who most looked like they needed to eat a sandwich -- my vote goes to Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon. I know if they look that thin on camera, in person it must be shocking.

Hank Stuever: I'm always worried for their fragile, exposed bones. I think one reason why they show up with two new feet of long hair is to distract us from the skeleton below it?


Farragut North: Did Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie attend the Oscars last night? I cannot find pictures anywhere!

William Booth: We didn't see them either?! Anyone out there in the chatosphere get a glimpse of them?


Columbia Heights: Did Eddie Murphy show up at the parties, and if so, how did he act?

Some folks seem very polite and smart: Marky Mark, Leo, Kate Winslet. Are they? ... Whose face-to-face persona match his/her public reputation? Whose does not?

Did J-Lo look frumpy? Is Naomi Watts pregnant, and was Liev with her?

William Booth: Did J-Lo look frumpy? No. J-Lo looked vroommy. We did do a double take. Was it the Grecian frock? The new doo?


Washington, D.C.: People talk about the stereotype of Hollywood -- and thus awards shows -- being full of people who are Jewish and/or gay. But was this the first year that a gay Oscar winner (Melissa Etheridge) kissed his or her partner on camera? It seems like not much of a big deal was made about it, which is great. I'm a long-time fan of both Melissa and Ellen and thought this was a great night for both of them.

Hank Stuever: The press backstage really wanted Melissa to go on about the empowerment of kissing her own wife and the statement/moment and she just wasn't having it. I don't have the quote exactly, but she said something like she grew up watching people win Oscars on TV and immediately turning to their loved one and kissing them happily, and this is normal, and this is what she did, and then she wanted the next question and not to grandstand about it. Which I think is an important lesson in gay celeb land. They've figured out that the more you proclaim your love and normalcy, the more abnormal you make it seem. That fine line between visibility and publicity.


Oklahoma City, Okla.: Who was the most down-to-earth person there last night? Jennifer Hudson came from no where, has it gone to her head?

William Booth: Most down to earth: Marty Scorsese was very openly giddy that he won, which is cool, right? He admitted he wanted to win. But then said, hey, look, I've been making film for 36 years and that's what I've been doing with my life, not waiting for an Oscar.


Washington, D.C.: Thanks for taking questions today. How do these after-parties work for you? Do you just mingle with the crowd, or do you have your press credentials out and seek interviews, etc.?

Hank Stuever: We spent our evening talking to everyone but security guards. In the case of VF and most other parties, we fit most comfortably in a press-badgeless existence where we can just be weird-looking party guests who have an irritating habit of writing ever-so-often on cocktail napkins. Which, Mr. Gore, is why the Oscars cannot completely switch to cloth napkins. Thank you for your question.


Washington, D.C.: Angelina is apparently in Africa, so Brad Pitt stayed in New Orleans -- according to People magazine.

William Booth: So now we know.


Madison, Wisc.: Why doesn't the Academy provide a lectern for the award winners to use as they deliver speeches. It seems so awkward for them to hold the statue, their purses, papers, etc., in their hands as they try to give the most important speech of a lifetime. And, why is no one stationed at the stairs to help the actresses in long gowns and high heels navigate the stairs -- seems like an accident waiting to happen.

William Booth: I think they are concerned that a lectern might hide the good stuff. Also, all that up and down adjusting.


Washington, D.C.: Did you see Gwyneth up close and if so was the dress less the color of death in person or no? Also, did she continue to insist her hair be splayed only over the left shoulder?

Hank Stuever: These gals all wear their hair like towels now. Or remember being little and pulling a T-shirt up over your head and playing Long Hair?

I like that you called that the color of death. Or lunch meat. USA Today called it "soft orange." Zac Posen was the designer. But I saw her up close on the carpet and listened to her talk to another reporter and I approved of the dress from a foot away.

That's about as much dress talk as I can do, what you just read.


Seattle: Are the after-parties that we hear so much about, really that great? Or are they sort of like the awkward, don't really know anyone, long lines for drinks and food, kind of events that us mortals sometimes experience when attending professional conferences, etc.? I'm trying to get a sense of the real vibe that exists at these things.


William Booth: Yes, exactly. They are just like attending the afternoon wine mixer at the annual gathering of Midwestern insurance adjusters.


Shout Out: Just 'cause someone should. In the early days of my film career here in DC (a thriving documentary scene The Post almost never covers) I worked with Wally Pfister, nominated last night for cinematography on "The Prestige." Congrats, Wally. We wish you would have won.

William Booth: Yo Wally.


Arlington, Va.: Not snarky, sorry -- but do you know anything about the "eco-limos" some of the stars supposedly used? Is there such a thing as a hybrid or electric limo, or did they just use a Prius? I heard much speculation pre-ceremony about who was going to get to ride in the snazzy Tesla electric car, but I haven't been able to find out who actually arrived in it. (Please don't tell me George Clooney, because the image of him in that beautiful car will leave me unable to think about anything else for the rest of the week.)

Hank Stuever: Anybody know who got to ride there in the Tesla? I haven't heard yet. I'm sure there's a press release already out there. I don't think there are any hybrid limos. But you know what? You could just TELL a celebrity that a limo is hybrid and they would believe it, and tell the other celebrities how they came in a hybrid limo because it's the right thing to do.


Washington, D.C.: I know the Oscars are traditionally long, but did this year's ceremony go especially longer than expected? My TV Guide said the show would end at 11:30, and at midnight they still had all the major awards to give, and Ellen D was joking about almost finishing on time. I didn't know whether I was watching the Oscars or flying JetBlue!

William Booth: The JetBlue line? Can we use that?


Maryland: so Ryan Gosling brought his mom and sis...does that mean he's broken up with Rachel McAdams?

Hank Stuever: No idea. Too busy admiring him to talk to him.


Washington, D.C.: Any good dish on Ellen's Penelope-Cruz-is-from-Mexico slip? Yes, I know she didn't say those exact words, but Penelope Cruz did NOT look happy when Ellen made her clarification.

William Booth: Well. Penelope is very proud of her heritage and her Pedro. But she doesn't strike as the kind of person who would hold a grudge.


Washington, D.C.: Do kids get to go to the VF party -- like adorable Abigail Breslin or Will Smith's son? Or is it adults only?

Hank Stuever: I would say there's a height requirement to get into VF, but there were some seriously short celebrities and moguls there. Didn't see Abigail or Jaden, but felt some lumpy stuff under my feet that could have been bodies.....


Alexandria, Va.: Where were you two stationed during the Oscars ceremony? How much sleep (if any) have you had since you left your last party?

William Booth: We got in a quick nap during the show. So we're fine.


Washington, D.C.: Was the glitterati as appalled as I was that "Pan's Labyrinth" didn't win for Best Foreign Language film? Did you run into any of the cast members?

William Booth: But have you seen "The Lives of Others"? It was worthy.


Oxford, Miss.: Forrest Whitaker is kinda crazy, no? And I'm not just talking the eye. He looked like he wanted to punch someone, the whole time talking about the unifying spirit.

William Booth: No, actually he is very sincere bear of a man. He has a great physicality. It was emotional for him. I think he was trying to honestly express his feelings -- which had nothing to do with punching anybody. At the parties, he was on constant hug mode.


Falcon Crest: Can we talk about other media outlets? The kids at E! are a disaster. Ryan showed his undies on TV, the platinum guy was making slimming marks on the ladies figures with his magic tele-pen, and Paltrow had no idea who Seacrest is. I love Tivo.

Hank Stuever: I guess the one and only good thing about never getting to watch the Oscars (because I'm at the Oscars) is that I never see preshows anymore. And I don't know who a lot of the TV infotainment anchors and correspondents are, much past Mary Hart, that Sugar Ray singer, Ryan Seacrest, and Melissa and Joan, but the red carpet bleacher crowd sure does. They go nuts for all o' them.


Eugene, Ore.: Alan Arkin. Is he great or what? Did you get to meet him?

Nice guy?

William Booth: Mister Sincerity. Backstage he took pains to keep complimenting the work of his fellow nominees. He lives in New Mexico, so, you know...


Pittsburgh: I know that there is a dinner (Governor's Ball) after the awards, along with food served at the other post-award parties (Vanity Fair, etc). Good places to see if any of these pin-thin celebs actually sit down and eat anything. Do they?

Hank Stuever: They do eat!

You should have seen all the stick figure blondes eating In-N-Out burgers at the VF party. (Of course, the men eat much more.) But they do eat. It might be conspicuous noshing -- they want people to see them put food in their mouths, to quell the rumor. And I hear no audible barfing from the women's room. (Nor in the men's.)


Washington, D.C.: Can I please get four hours of my life back!! Last night had to be one of the most boring Oscar's in recent memory. I think it was because there were no memorable, endearing, cry-worthy Oscar speeches. What was up with all the speeches being read? BORING! Also, I have to say that for someone whose talent has been blown-out-of-proportion, someone definitely should have dressed Jennifer Hudson better!

Hank Stuever: Posting, and mostly nodding in assent.


Germantown, Md.: Did you see any weird groups of celebs hanging out together? Like earlier today, I saw a pic of Helen Mirren chatting it up with Jamie Foxx. I can't see these two hanging out in real life together, but at the VF party, does anything go?

William Booth: Anything goes.


Georgetown: Why is it that George Lucas hasn't grown a full Jeremiah Johnson class beard to cover up that bizarre throat of his?

William Booth: Bizarre as in non-operating?


Tesla: At the Global Green Oscar pre-party, no one was allowed to touch the Tesla.

William Booth: That's a good name for a band. Touch The Tesla.


St. Louis, Mo.: Did Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman ever run into one another?

William Booth: They were kept apart by professional keeper-a-parters.


Crofton, Md.: Did you see George Clooney? He always seems to steal the show whenever he shows up.

Hank Stuever: Did not see him as much as last year, because he knows when the show isn't as much about him. Remember his speech last year, when he said he was proud to be "out of touch" with the country's leadership, or something like that? My how a year has changed. Lots of people out of step with the country's leadership now in Hollywood, and they're happy to say so.


Rehoboth Beach, Del.: Good afternoon....any good gossip??? Catty behavior...drunken celebrities???

William Booth: Omigod. Where????


Springfield: So does Forrest Whitaker give good hugs? I bet he's a great hugger.

William Booth: The best. We waited in line for ours.


Re: BORING: The most exciting part of the night was when Leo and Gore announced the Oscars were taking steps to go green! That got my attention and solicited the only claps-all-around reaction from the party I was at.

William Booth: You weren't eating off paper plates were you?


Well of course they eat: They've already been starving themselves for weeks for this night. When it's over, let them eat cake!

William Booth: The VF party had pigs in a blanket with mustard. I ate 17.


Mirren and Fox: Mirren's husband - Taylor Hackford - directed Foxx in "Ray." May be that's why they were hanging out?

Hank Stuever: The obvious answer is always right there in front of us, isn't it? So long as we have IMDB brains at all time. Hey, speaking of, my head is pounding. I'm signing off early to get crackin' on our after-party story which will run in tomorrow's Style section. Thanks, all...


William Booth: I gotta figure out how to get this damn child safety cap off the #@&#&# aspirin for Hank.


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