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The Academy Awards: The Social Scene

Hank Stuever and Amy Argetsinger
Washington Post Style Staff Writers
Monday, February 23, 2009 1:00 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 Hank Stuever and Amy Argetsinger have the scoop on what really went down during Hollywood's biggest night.

They were online Monday, Feb. 23, at 1 p.m. ET to answer your questions and dish all the Oscar dirt.

A transcript follows.

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Arlington, Va.: Did you get to meet those adorable tots from "Slumdog Millionaire," or were they safely abed by 3 a.m.?

Amy Argetsinger: Yes, we ran into the adorable tots from "Slumdog Millionaire" a couple times, and adorable doesn't even begin to describe them. I don't know if they were safely abed by 3 a.m., but they didn't look to be on that track at 2 a.m. when we saw the at the Vanity Fair party.

I have a photo from around that hour -- Hank slumped on one end of a couch, one of the Slumdog kids on the other, eyes burrowed into somebody's BlackBerry, playing Brick Breaker.

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HANK:: In all your years covering the Oscars, wht's some of the worst behavior you've ever witnessed?

Hank Stuever: Good morning, I think. Man we are really puffy-eyed and headachey this morning. Be patient with us. We filed like crazy people from the Kodak Theatre and then hie theed up Sunset Boulevard to a really, really good Vanity Fair party at its new venue, the Sunset Tower hotel. Then we wound up at an invite-only Prince concert which was ... surreal. We will try to catch up to your many questions, so keep them coming. We saw _everybody_, except Madonna, who left VF before we got there, and Mick Jagger who also left. Dagnabit!

Okay, worst behavior... Hmmmm ... Heath bitching about Ang Lee's acceptance speech leaving out the actors during the Brokeback year. He didn't know we were all listening. But let's not speak ill of the dead.

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Arlington, Va.: Never mind those celebs. What are YOU wearing, to blend in with the glitterati?

Amy Argetsinger: Did you know that the Academy actually requires press to wear black tie to the event? I always thought they were just being pretentious, but no, we're *supposed* to do it. Which seems strange since we're mostly holed up in an unglamorous hotel conference center and sitting at computers, or standing on the wrong end of the red carpet hedge, not mingling in the theater.

Anyway, Hank looked dashing in a Hugo Boss tux. I wore red BCBG Max Azria. If you Google Images me, that's the one

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OK, OK:: I'd like all the cute-guy-over-30 gossip, please. Bonus points for Brits, Ozzies, and the like. I need a virtual swoon today.

Hank Stuever: How over 30? Ran smack into Frank Langella walking into VF, followed by RD Jr. Also got some shoulder rubbin' with Josh Brolin, who is darling, oooh Gerard Butler -- how's that? He was everywhere I turned around. Do you like 'em pocket-sized, because that little "Transporter" guy, Jason Stratham, was there, weaving in out of people the way he drives in those movies. Also pocket-sized, sadly -- Dermot Mulroney. Anyone know who he's dating now? Didn't recognize his date -- pretty-ish in the Lucy Liu-ish way. (He and Catherine Keener aren't together anymore -- would have LOVED to see her.) For taller, we saw Jason Segal. Hmmm, will keep thinking. Also saw Elvis Costello a lot -- you wanted old and accented.

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Arlington, VA: Rough week for Rourke, first losing his pup and now being overlooked at the Oscars. We all know Penn is a good actor, couldn't they have just given it to Rourke to save his sense of self?

Amy Argetsinger: I know that Rourke has had a hard week -- and a hard two decades, now that you mention it. And in all those interviews he seems like such a sad sack. But seeing him at the VF party last night, being treated like such a rock star -- he's okay in that department, I think.

Did you see "Milk"? As great as Rourke's performance was, Penn's performance really was that incredible -- so good that they were able to get over their usual hurdle of rewarding someone again so soon.

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Washington, DC: Why wasn't Heath honored during the Queen Latifah performance at the show?

Hank Stuever: I was so busy typing I did not pay attention to the slide show during the deathroll. Readers, is this true? Heath wasn't in it? No pic of Heath? (Were there pics?) Forgive us. The strange thing about covering Oscars is that we are the _least_ equipped to tell you what transpired on the tv screen. By the deathroll, we are deep into deadline doodoo and happy for the few minutes of lull in action. Mostly this is because we are backstage where they bring winners to talk. ALL the winners, so in one ear you've got the telecast and in one ear you've got some techie answering how-does-he-feel questions. (Answer, as ever: He feels great, validated, hopeful, etc.)

Send us more of your show reactions, everybody. Even if you already told Dan's chat just now...

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Adams Morgan, DC: Any obvious WIGS in the celeb crowd?

Hank Stuever: Sophia Loren.

Oooh, he said it.

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Stiller question: I missed it, did he walk on the red carpet with the beard? Also, did he keep it on the whole night?

Any Phoenix reaction?

Hank Stuever: In the main, presenters were not on the carpet this year, since the show's producers wanted to keep a surprise. Amy says she didn't see him. Seems like he would have kept off the carpet to keep the surprise.

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Washington, D.C.: And the under 30 crowd??

Amy Argetsinger: They're all extraordinarily gorgeous, the under 30s. Dominic Cooper -- no, I had no idea who he was either, until a publicist asked me if I wanted to talk to him -- was adorable. And oh, Dev Patel and Freida Pinto from Slumdog -- they got cut out of my red carpet story. She's exquisitely beautiful, no other way to put it, without being overly done up or styled. And Dev -- I thought he was blah in the movie, but in person he's downright hot. And good manners, very charming and polite, looks you in the eye (which is the basic standard by which we measure celebrity behavior). I think I saw Jason Lewis at the VF party, but maybe it was just another extremely handsome guy.

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Springfield, Va: Can anyone explain why "Slumdog" didn't run in the foreign film category? OR is this more multinational corporation outsourcing, Rubert Murdoch (Fox Searchlight) style?

Hank Stuever: Right. It's all about who produced and paid the bills.

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Presenters: I thought Jack Black and Jennifer Anniston were terrible - wooden, charmless, pitiful, awkward (at least JA was). The camera panned to Angelina at one point and she was laughing, but surely it was a pity laugh because it was painful for me to watch them. I've not seen anyone else mention this on the other chats, so maybe I'm alone in this?

Hank Stuever: Everybody, is she/he alone in this?
I'm a sucker for some Aniston. Wooden, soft, happy, sad. Gimme.

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Televisionland: I hear that Tom Cruise is really short. Is that true?

Amy Argetsinger: I don't think he was there last night. He's not a tall guy but he's not as short as, say, Ben Stiller, who you could put in your shirt pocket next to your iPod. When you see Cruise in person, in fact, your first reaction is that he's taller than you expect, simply because you've been hearing for so many years that he's shorter than you expect.

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DC: Dan Z. said Heath L. was in last year's deathroll. I thought his family did a nice job accepting his award.

Amy Argetsinger: Yes, he was, and yes, they did a nice job.

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Alexandria, VA: Did you get seriously snubbed by anyone like Seacrest with Brangelina...that was cold.

Amy Argetsinger: Missed the Brangelina snub. The way this thing is set up it's pretty easy to be snubbed. It's not like they're walking down a hallway past you -- the whole area is like 20 yards wide, and if they want to not talk to you, they can just sweep by on the bleacher side, waving to the fans and ignoring all the reporters saying "Kate! Kate!" (So, yeah, there's one of them.)

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Boston MA: Oh come on!! you can't drop a tidbit like "invite-only Prince concert" and "surreal" and not follow up!! Spill it! How was his purple-ness? Who was dancing badly?

Hank Stuever: I was dancing badly. Amy was dancing goodly. Crowd was wild. The set list was ... what's a more extreme word for surprising? He played some Stones, some Sheila E., he played the Time's "Jungle Love" AND "the Bird" and I sheet you not some Jimmy Eat World. I guess the Sheila E and Time are not surprising. Then all these people got up on stage with him -- audience members. The best dancer was a guy on a crutches. There was also a girl in white t-shirt and jeans with a short haircut who looked exactly Courteney Cox from the Bruce Springsteen video of Dancing in the Dark. I thought I was hallucinating. (And I wasn't on anything, except all the food I scarfed at VF.)

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Washington, DC: How is it determined which celebrities get invited to sit in the audience? Obviously, I can see how A-listers and nominated actors get in, but I saw a few questionable people, too. Is it basically a case of, if you're relatively famous, you can come?

Amy Argetsinger: It's complicated. Some people get tickets because they're members of the Academy of some standing, while I think other people get tickets because their studio has doled them out to them -- determining that for publicity reasons, this actor should be there instead of some exec. Virginia Madsen said on the carpet that if you're a past nominee, you're basically just entitled to enter a lottery for tickets.

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Cube farm, DC: I'll type quietly for you...of all the amazing people who did you feel really stood out last night? I mean, you expect all to be stunning, but was there one (or several) who were truly capivating, more than on TV?

Hank Stuever: Winslet. I followed her all night at VF. The most relaxed celeb in the universe, and so smart-seeming. And looked perfect still at 2 pm. That hair was FROZEN.

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NY: The highlight of the broadcast was Seth Rogen cracking up at James Franco's butchering the name of the winner of whatever random category they were presenting. My roommates and I re-wound it five different times.

Hank Stuever: Speeglesdrfundzandder.
I tried to type it last night as that was happening and gave up because I simply didn't have time to cut and paste it from IMDB.

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Columbia, MD: What on earth was Kate Winslett thinking with her remark to Meryl Streep telling her to "suck it up"? I was furious.

Amy Argetsinger: Oh, everyone's joking, everyone's pals. Frankly I'm grateful for any bit of wit or spontaneity in these speeches. And Winslet is the only person who can make that joke to Streep, having now spent much of her career like Streep clapping for other people at awards shows. (Streep already has two Oscars, let's remember.)

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Oh my Hugh!: Is he as hot in person as he was on the screen last night. Because, wow. Wow.

Hank Stuever: We looked in vain for him at the parties. Will have to recheck the final guest list of who showed.

One thing that's not as hot in person about these fellers, when you do see them up close on Oscar night, is all the makeup. I mean ALL the makeup. They were it because of all the cameras. They're probably still wearing it.

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More About Gerard Butler: Please!!!!!!

Hank Stuever: There was some forced rubbing up against Gerard Butler at one of the bar stations in VF.

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J. Anniston: Poster is not alone on this. Why was even presenting - Courtney Cox was busy? Generally presenters are either 1. Oscar-caliber performers, or 2. Immensely bankable movie stars. She doesn't qualify on either count, unless they add "Great at getting sympathy-related publicity" to the criteria..

Hank Stuever: Uh, Marley and Me did great. He's Just Not That Into You is doing well. She's in good movies, I think -- I happened to love "The Break Up" because of her. Also, come on -- "Friends with Money"??? Amazing. Shoo!

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Brangelina "snub": I really wish people would get over trying to paint Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with the "they're too snotty to talk to you" brush. I mean, honestly. Wouldn't you avoid reporters who can't be bothered to ask you about the reason you're there - you know, because you were nominated for a pretty big deal award - and instead ask you how your partner has helped you grow as a woman (I'm looking at you, Guiliana Rancic!)? I mean, these stupid reporters are so fan-girly over this couple, that in their shoes, I'd avoid the reporters like the plague, too. Enough already.

On a shallower note, I thought Brad and Angie looked wonderful. As did Jen Anniston (whom I loathe, but props where props are due).

Hank Stuever: Hey, sweet pea.

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Winslet: Was on the cover of TIME last week and rated a lavishly laudatory story. They were surely happy that she won. Wish the dress had been more flattering to her considerable charms.

Hank Stuever: I am telling you, in person, that dress looked great.

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Streep and Adams and others?: Do Meryl and Amy Adams not like each other? They barely glanced at each other all night and Amy Adams was scrunched into her seat as far away from touching Meryl as possible. Is there something we should know?

Sean Penn didn't thank Robin and she had to grab his face to kiss him. Given the past rumors/separation, is there something we should know?

In this historic year, and given that the entire ethnic cast of Best Picture was left out in the cold, would it have killed the Academy to award an Oscar to a very deserving Viola Davis instead of the safe Penelope Cruz? Or was Sean Penn playing a gay man Hollywood's nod to how much they embrace minorities in power positions?

Amy Argetsinger: Hello! Always enjoy the body language analysis. Will just say to the first -- didn't get to see much of the broadcast, and I wouldn't make any judgments based on what happened to be going on the moment the camera flickered past these two. As to the second -- same thing. Yes, they were separated a year or so ago, but back on track now, apparently. But you raise a good question -- we should research all those acceptance speeches where the winnner forgot to thank the spouse and see what happened to those marriages. It was a bad omen for Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe, after all.

There was a lot of buzz about Viola Davis, and I had her in my Oscar pool. It was probably close, but sadly we never know the breakdown of the vote.

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Houston: The "foreign film" category is actually the "Foreign Language" category. Slumdog is an English-language film.

Amy Argetsinger: Yep.

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Suburbia: I got the distinct impression that Franco and Rogan were high...or are they just really good actors :)

Amy Argetsinger: Outstanding actors.

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Anonymous: How did Mickey Rourke react, in the Kodak Theatre and at any parties afterwards, to his loss?

Hank Stuever: He seemed to be quite a gentleman all night. People at the party swirled around him the entire time he was there. And you could find him by his white cowboy hat, that went with his white Gaultier suit.

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Silver Spring, Md.: Were you as surprised as I that Mickey Rourke did not win Best Actor for "The Wrestler".....

I however felt that Sean Penn was a good choice as well...and I enjoyed his passion remarks following his acceptance.

Hank Stuever: posting....

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Washington, DC: Do you have any idea why Jack Nicholson was not there last night?

Amy Argetsinger: He wasn't, was he? We were wondering the same thing. I'm looking but not finding an answer to this one.

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Woodbridge, Va.: How long until somebody asks about Jen and Brad and Angelina? or should I ask how many questions you've gotten already?

Hank Stuever: Bout half a dozen so far...

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Last year's death roll;: Heath was in it.

By the way, wikipedia says CAtherine Keener's dating Benicio del TORO? Such a kidder, that site.

Amy Argetsinger: They were spotted having dinner together on one occasion last summer, which can mean... anything.

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Clifton, VA: So Amy, did you get to bond with Mr bond?

Amy Argetsinger: No. He took the outside lane of traffic on the red carpet too. But seeing him in the flesh -- he really is all that.

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Charlottesville, VA: What were people drinking and eating at the after parties?

Hank Stuever: Rivers of Moet at VF, and gobs of trays delivering everything from In-and-Out burgers, egg-and-sausage bagel sandwiches, tiny little chocolate mousse cups, other little desserts. And it just never stopped. We were at VF until last call, or just before.

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Alexandria, VA: Did you get a chance to meet Danny Boyle? Some of my favorite shots of the night were of his absolute (seemingly genuine) joy every time one of his technical team members (or song) won an award. He looked giddy like a kid in a candy shop every time another award went to the movie.

Amy Argetsinger: Met him briefly on the red carpet. Seemed like a fun guy. The little kids from the movie were just effusive when talking about him. "Brilliant, marvelous!" Little kids with British accents just slay me.

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Miley Cyrus: Why was she there? She didn't present, wasn't a nominee. Aren't there more important/interesting celebrities to invite?

Hank Stuever: SOme years you have to factor in the fact that the celeb in question made a splash last year (Miley performed last year, it was kind of supposed to be a big deal, but she didn't go on until half the nation's pre-tweens had gone to bed) ... also factor in there's the Hannah Montana movie about to be released. This is a business event, after all.

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Century City: I'm sorry, not to be unkind, but Mickey Rourke looked AWFUL last night. I mean, he's not much of a looker to begin with (if you ask me), but the white suit was SO "Fat and Sweaty Elvis."

Amy Argetsinger: But it's his look, you know? He owns it.

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Washington, D.C.: Did you see Brad Pitt and Angie Jolie at the Vanity Fair party? Did you see Jennifer Aniston talking with Brad?

Hank Stuever: Didn't happen. Don't believe any of the three were there, but we will crosscheck that with the final list VF most kindly emailed us this morning.

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Penelope Cruz: I take issue with the poster that thought that Penelope should not have won. Did you see the movie? She was fantastic and should have one for Volver a couple of years ago. Viola was also great, but don't diss Ms. Cruz.

Amy Argetsinger: There are so many complicated things going on with any of these voting choices. Some people thought Davis's role was too small and too short -- only 12 minutes of screen time total -- to be recognized; others said that one scene she had really was just that amazing. And then you'll have others saying, oh, Cruz was so great in Volver and other things, let's recognize her for a larger body of work...

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Anonymous: Can you say a word or two about Melissa Leo? I think she's terrific, but knew she didn't stand a chance against all the big-name glitterati actresses.

Hank Stuever: I can say that I highly recommend putting Frozen River in your Netflix queue. Great, bleak film. I can also say that Melissa Leo embodies what I think this year's Oscars were all about -- saluting people who just, you know, work for a living, build a career over time through basic sweat and toil, and get by on their paychecks. That's 97 percent of Hollywood. That's something to keep in mind when someone goes off about how out of touch "Hollywood" is....

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Re: La Loren: Couldn't resist passing along to you that according to a woman who posted on Facebook, both of her (the poster's) kids asked her who the dead lady on stage was.

Hank Stuever: Hee hee.

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Amy Argetsinger: Ah, breakfast arrives. I need this.

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Gush: So, tell me, did you talk to Robert Pattinson? Like a 13 year old, I find him swoon-worthy. I hope he was hot and charming in person.

Amy Argetsinger: Did not talk to him. He was in the middle lane of traffic on the red carpet, seemingly gravitating to TV outlets, which is just as well because I wouldn't have known what to ask him. Looks exactly like himself in person. Brooding.

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Winslet and Streep: I thought Winslet was saying to Streep "suck it up" regarding all the women being amazed to be in the same category as her. Kinda like "Suck it up, don't play modest, because you are amazing and you're just going to have to accept as fact that we are all in awe of you".

Or am I being way too Pollyanna about it?

Amy Argetsinger: Has Hank already mentioned that you all watching at home probably had a better vantage on the proceedings than we did, listening to the show through headphones while tapping out our stories? Anyway, yes, it's clear whatever she said was all in good fun.

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Columbia Heights DC: Fairmont Street checking in! The chili was spicy, and the Glaswegian won the balloting via text message.

We thought Shirley MacLaine looked like a librarian. How was she IRL?

And what about the mash-up of former Oscar winners presenting the nominations? If I was Richard Jenkins I'd have been bummed to know I was assigned to Adrien Brody.

Amy Argetsinger: Here's the thing -- they kept most of the presenters off the red carpet in order to preserve some sense of surprise, so she's among the many people that you could see better than me.

Hank Stuever: I was not a fan of the ensemble past-nominee presentation thing. I'm a big fan of "and the nominees are." If it truly is an honor just to be nominated then leave it at that, without the added smoke-blowing-up-the-rear. If publicists had hacked into the Academy's computers and written those intro themselves, they wouldn't have done such a puffariffic job as the show's writers did. There's enough of that already.

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Washington, DC: Any good overheards? It sounds like you had great access to some celebs...surely one of them was spouting entertaining commentary (good or bad!)... Also, saw Catherine Keener on the Mall during the Inauguration. She's really pretty, super tiny and incredibly nice/real.

Hank Stuever: We'll be saving good overheards for our story in tomorrow's Style section. Sorry, gotta save something.

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Columbia Heights DC: Fairmont Street again. We were happy to see Robin Wright Penn with her husband, and to see Sarah Jessica and Matthew together. This led to a long discussion of Matthew's accident in N. Ireland in the 1980s when two women were killed. Our Smart Friend Julie (who loved Sr. Aloysius's walls) was ashamed at her ability to remember celebrity trivia over 20 years old.

And then Joel Grey was on our screen! Spooky! Since it was his daughter Jennifer with Matthew when the crash happened ...

Hank Stuever: Weeeeeird.
This is why I miss watching at home.

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Gran Torino diss: Can you explain why Gran Torino wasn't a nom for anything? Yeah, yeah, Clint's gotten lotsa love in past years, but it really was a terrific movie and at least some of his co-stars deserved some recognition.

Amy Argetsinger: I haven't seen it yet, but I still find it surprising. It got very good reviews and was a genuine box office hit -- two things that you'd think would count for a lot in what was otherwise a weak year for prestige films. (Let's be honest -- Best Picture was not a very competitive category this year.) Also, the Academy loves Clint. But maybe they felt like they'd already lavished too much love on him. No idea.

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Washington, DC: Since you guys were there and I watched on TV I'm wondering if you can tell me if Robert Prosky was indeed left out of the montage of those who passed away, or if the stupid moving camera movement just blurred it. If they did snub him that is truly sad on their part. Prosky was a wonderful character actor. Just because he didn't worship at the feet of Hollywood doesn't mean you diss the guy. Hopefully I'm wrong though and just missed it.

And yes, I was a friend of his.

Amy Argetsinger: That's a good question. Anyone else notice Prosky in the montage? (Again, you all were in a better position to see this...)

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Miley Cyrus: Was there because she voiced the girl in Bolt, which was up for the animation award.

Hank Stuever: See? There's always a reason, and someone always knows. But come on, that's not the only reason she was there. She was there to tell the world that Angelina is her favorite person "in all history."

All.

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"Uh, Marley and Me did great. ": Uh, she was third banana to Owen Wilson and a DOG. I guess you loved Sondra Locke's career as well (think about it)?

Hank Stuever: posting...

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Columbia Heights DC: Why did Anne Hathaway change outfits between the red carpet and the opening number?

Amy Argetsinger: The dress she was wearing for red carpet was gorgeous but kind of tight -- probably not the best for performing.

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Harrisburg, Pa.: Come on, admit that you've tried: so what are your best times at balancing a statuette on yourself?

Amy Argetsinger: Having now touched and held an Oscar statuette, I would not want to try that. They're heavy. Stuff could get broken.

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Andrew, DC: What was the reaction of the crowd to the writer of "Milk" and his acceptance speech? Did people think he was too over-the-top, or were they touched?

Amy Argetsinger: I think people were touched. (Again -- not actually in the room!)

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celebrities and food: You always hear about the food at the parties, but do any of those stick figures in gowns actually eat any of it?

Hank Stuever: The men eat the in-and-out burgers, and I am transfixed by their slimness as well. Oscar night is hell for me, a reminder that there exists a world of 29-inch waists on 40-year-old men.

For the record, I ate TWO hamburgers. There is no mystery about how I got my body.

Did not see lady celebs eating much. Saw 'em smoking though.

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T. Rompf, OKC: C'mon people! No Madonna sighting??

Amy Argetsinger: Apparently we just missed her at the VF party..

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Foggy Bottom: I'm still in the air about the past honorees giving blurbs. Initially I didn't like it, but it grew on my until Brody basically blew it. Which raises the question, did they, the past honorees, write their own plaudits of the current crop? If so, there were some clunkers.

Hank Stuever: It's possible they had a hand in finessing their own material, but I assure you each word was written by paid writers.

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so: do all those skinny women look as skinny in person? And didn't you love Marisa Tomei's dress. And do you think Penelope Cruz actually bought the dress she was wearing (see Ms. Givhan's spot on column yesterday)?

Hank Stuever: They look malnourished in person and breakable. You want to put a Red Cross blanket around them and rush them to the front of the soup line and check their blood pressure.

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Arlington, Va.: I think Sean Penn was caught off-guard to be the Best Actor winner last night. I think his little call-out to Mickey Rourke at the end of his acceptance speech was not only classy, but his way of saying, "I thought this was going to you!"

Hank Stuever: Yep.

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Drew, DC: The Asian guy who won the award for animation totally saved his speech by saying Domo Arregato Roboto. Speaking of speeches, is there a rule in Hollywood that you need to thank specific people? Cannot anyone give a graceful "thank you" without reading a littany of names that we at home don't know?

Amy Argetsinger: Oh, don't we wish? I think the whole phenomenon was summed up by Philippe Petit, who got up there and said, "I have just one word: Yessssss!"

And just as you're thinking, "cool, good for him" he adds, "... but I always break my own rules, so..." and then ticks off the same list of names. They can't help themselves.

Truly, I think everyone should just stop thanking anyone. That way they won't make the mistake of failing to thank their soon-to-be-ex-spouses.

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McLean: I like the concept of past winners each presenting a nominee. Kinda like passing the torch.

Do you know if the presenters co-wrote their own blurbs. Because they came off as so personal and heartfelt (eg: McLaine to Hathaway).

I did not like the fact that presenters were encouraged to not walk the Red Carpet. It made the pre-show shows unbearably monotonous, and I love seeing the stars in their dresses.

Hank Stuever: Passing the torch of blah-blah-blah.
I agree, it was a loss to not have presenters on red carpet. I was not on red carpet this year (thank god), Amy was, and do read her fabulous dispatch from last night, which is written under the grimmest of conditions and deadlines. She said the pickings were pretty slim. We never know who we're going to get.

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Baltimore, Md.: Some just might think that Beyonce is getting a little chunky. What do you think?

Amy Argetsinger: People are crazy. The girl has always had meat on her bones; she's thinner now than before.

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Reston, Va.: Heath wasn't in this year's deathroll because he was in last year's.

And speaking of Heath, how classy was his family? I was afraid it'd smack of them wanting their fifteen minutes, but I thought they hit just the right note, were clearly humbled to be there, and didn't prolong the moment.

And I want Amy Adams's necklace for my very own.

Amy Argetsinger: Amy Adams' necklace was incredible.

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Oscar night is hell for me, a reminder that there exists a world of 29-inch waists on 40-year-old men: Hank, you do not have a personal trainer/chef/nutritionist at your beck and call. We like your real-ness just fine...

Hank Stuever: I could 15 lbs. less realness. I will get busy ... in a few days.

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Oscar is Heavy!: My sister won an Oscar in the 1980s (documentary), and once used it as a weapon. She walked in on men in ski masks robbing her house in Eastern Market. Her office is the room to the right of her front door and Oscar was the heaviest thing in reach. We still laugh at the image of her brandishing her statue like a bat, swinging at men trying to take her VCR.

Amy Argetsinger: I don't know if this is a true story, but if it's fake, I still appreciate it.

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Slumdog kiddies: Uh, Amy, they actually have Indian accents, not British ones (unless you were referring to Dev Patel, who is British).

Amy Argetsinger: Their English, like that of many Indians, is British-inflected English instead of American-inflected English.

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Tinseltown, TX: What would Mr. Booth think of the night? Amy and Hank-- great job!

Hank Stuever: Ah, he would love you for asking.

You byline watchers -- all five of you -- will have probably noticed that William Booth was not with us this year. He covered Oscars for a decade or so, first with Sharon Waxman (when she was at the Post) and then with me. Now he's the Mexico City bureau chief, immersed in a world of drug lords and headless torsos.

But, ever the sweetie, he did send us a note last night just as the show was starting. He was in Tijuana, where, he said, "the air is pregnant with unwed teens."

God, we miss him.

That said, Amy worked this thing like a champ.

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Washington, DC: The Post quoted Aniston as saying something to Mayer like "I really love you. All of you." ... Did it seem like that was a comment she was hoping for a journalist to hear?

Amy Argetsinger: Oh, probably. I wasn't there, but it does seem like that relationship is conducted in the media.

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Dearlybeloved, TX: Did anyone make it to Elton's?

Hank Stuever: Ashley Surdin, of our LA bureau, did Elton duty for us this year and is such a dutiful correspondent that she actually filed her details last night, while we were still at VF. Yay Ashley. We'll weave in her stuff to our party report in tomrrow's paper.

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Takoma Park, MD: Just a few years ago I beat Amy in an Oscar Pool at a mutual friend's Oscar Party...and now you're actually there.

I am SO jealous! Tell me something to quell my envy.

Amy Argetsinger: 1. You saw more of the Oscars than I did.
2. I am currently working on about four and a half hours of sleep.
3. I failed to win Dan Zak's Oscar pool this year. In fact, I did quite poorly.

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Let's Talk Gowns!: Just for the record I thought Natalie Portman, SJP, Jen Aniston, Viola Davis, Amy Adams, Miley Cyrus and actually Tilda Swinton had the most amazing outfits. Angelina was a let down. Or at least hers came across as boring.

Hank Stuever: It always boil down to:
Pretty dresses look pretty on pretty people.
Ugly dresses look not-so-pretty on pretty people.

And by 3 a.m., the notebook reads more like dresses pretty not so not look then ugly pretty so.

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Arlington, VA: Not to be catty, but I laughed like a mad woman when Miley Cyrus mentioned on the red carpet that she hoped to be nominated next year for her upcoming Hanna Montana movie. Seriously?

Hank Stuever: She's got early buzz on the razzies.

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Youthful faces and natural : I read that Melissa Leo has her natural, no-botoxed, no-lifted face. I love her and hope she keeps it that way. Is your impression that more actors are more relaxed and accepting now when it comes to aging, or are most actors/actresses over 40 or 50 still facelifted?

Amy Argetsinger: I thought Melissa Leo looked gorgeous -- in spite of and because of the lines on her face, which really make her stand out in L.A.

No, I do not get the impression that actors are more relaxed or accepting about age. Quite the opposite. Being on the red carpet makes you realize that there are a lot of 20-somethings and 30-somethings getting work done.

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Sweden: I'm envious of you!

What did you think of the dresses? Were there not a lot of draping going on? And mermaid style?

And - may I say it? - one of the draped ladies looked expecting - soon forth month, maybe. She had a black dress. I usually don't guess on things like this, but it sort of leaped out.

Amy Argetsinger: We were noting that there were a lot of architectural looking dresses -- very constructed.

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How 'bout Marisa?: I thought Marisa Tomei looked beautiful in that silvery dress, and her role in Wrestler was a wonderful reminder of her talents. Any inside dish on her?

Amy Argetsinger: Lovely in person. If she's had work done, it's the best and most expensive kind that makes it look like you haven't had work done and just have great genes. She was wringing her hands a bit while talking on the red carpet though, which made me realize -- it's got to be weird doing red carpet. Nothing to do with your hands.

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Hank Stuever: Hey everyone, I'm signing off, to see if I can get enough caffeine in me so Amy and I can write a party story that is much better, much more coherent than this chat. Thank you for joining us.

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Beverly Hills: Besides the bewigged Sophia Loren, were any "Old Hollywood" stars there? (There's not that many left, I guess.)

Amy Argetsinger: Mickey Rooney! I met him on the red carpet. He's as short as you expect. Nice guy, good red-carpet manners.

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Washington, D.C.: I think the reason she looks "bigger" is because people probably remember her when she was promoting her last album (and coming off of Dreamgirls) where she didn't eat for weeks to be super skinny for that role. I think since everyone else in Hollywood looks like long sufferers of eating disorders, it makes her look overweight in comparison. It's all kind of scary.

Amy Argetsinger: Here's the thing about Hollywood people -- they are all tiny. Sure, you've got TMZ analyzing every fluctuation on their body mass indexes, but the truth is that they are all minute. Actors may be taller or shorter than you expect in person, younger or older, hotter or notter -- but none of them are bigger than you expect, and they're almost always smaller.

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Hot dress, Amy!: Even if no one could see you, that's a great dress. And you paid for it yourself, I'm assuming--a reference to Robin Givhan's terrific column yesterday about paying for the swag and the rags for cryin' out loud.

Amy Argetsinger: Um, yeah, paid for it myself. This job doesn't come with a clothing stipend, nor would we be allowed to accept gowns as dresses (even assuming there was a designer flaky enough to think that dressing a journalist was good publicity).

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Fairfax, VA: I hated the fake speeches about the nominees. I wanted to SEE THEIR ACTING. What the heck!?! I have NO idea now what made each of them nominees in the first place. Idiotic...

Amy Argetsinger: Well, you'll just have to go see the movies then, won't you? That's the whole point of this show -- it's one big commercial.

Anyway, we're really done now -- outta here. Thanks for joining us!

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