Is Eddie out smoking…or is he SMOKING MAD?

Celine Dion is singing on the screen and the backstage interview is the foreign film winner who is speaking in German. So what is there to do? Gossip with Richard Roeper! He heard that after losing the best supporting actor race to Alan Arkin, Murphjy left! If that’s the truth, it’s not very gracious of Norbit. After all, remember 10 years ago when poor Lauren Bacall, as much as a front-runner for “The Mirror Has Two Faces” as Murphy was for “Dreamgirls,” smiled bravely and clapped after Juliet Binoche won (this pains me to this day) then not only did Bacall stay through the whole show, she went to the Governor’s Ball and danced with Kevin Spacey.

Lansing praises Tom Cruise…her surprise presenter

When Sherry Lansing saw Tom Cruise at a pre-Oscar party a few days ago, she said she thought he was kind of cold when he greeted her. When he presented her with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, he whispered into her ear that he really wanted to do it and that’s why he couldn’t say much at the party: “It was a secret. I had no idea who was giving me the award,” Lansing said backstage.
She also, during a very loooooooooooooooooooong Q&A session, defended Cruise as an actor and believes he will be back at the top of his profession and be standing at the Academy Awards holding his own Oscar one day.
Cruise ex-wife Nicole Kidman, who presented the first award tonight with Daniel Craig, already has an Oscar, and ex-girlfriend Penelope Cruz is up for one tonight.

Jennifer Hudson thanks Jennifer Holliday, among others…

Hooray!!! It happened. After Eddie Murphy’s loss, I was a bit nervous about this. But Jennifer Hudson took the best supporting actress Academy Award for “Dreamgirls” and she was tearful and gracious. “I just have to take this moment in. I cannot believe this. Look what God can do.”
She hugged Beyonce and others on her way up to the stage. I gotta say, it is so annoying to have the music start playing her off the stage. Dammit. Cut out the stupid costume segment and let the best supporting actress speak!
Over the music, Jennifer Hudson did thank Jennifer Holliday, who originated the role of Effie on Broadway, won the Tony for it 25 years ago, and was publicly pissed off over not being given even a cameo in the film.
Holliday should feel much better now and thanks to the classy Hudson, her legacy was honored.

Pan’s Labyrinth upset in foreign language category!

Now I wish I hadn’t blown off the producer of “The Lives of Others” on the red carpet. I was sure “Pan’s Labyrinth” would win in this category, especially since it had already won for art direction and cinematography AND make-up! With six nods overall, it seemed to be a shoo-in to win at least five wins…OK, here comes best supporting actress! Will Jennifer win? I’m a wreck!

What a display

Oscar producer Laura Ziskin meant well when she asked for some sort of display on stage of nominated costume designs. But what the hell was that? “Curse of the Golden Flower” and “Marie Antoinette” were showcased nicely, but the corgi next to the multiple versions of “The Queen,” the two white-haired Mirandas in their “Prada” wear and the Voguish posing of the “Dreamgirls” were just campy gone weird.

Cruise likes THIS Paramount chair…

Something tells me that if Paraount Pictures studio head Brad Grey were receiving the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award tonight, Tom Cruise would not have shown up to present the honor. But since it was going to former studio head Sherry Lansing, under whom he enjoyed a heady run of hits over 20 years, Tommy was here with bells on. He’s the perfect gentleman these days and I think the whole image makeover post-Oprah couch jumping and Brooke Shields bashing will work provided he follows it up with a good movie role and continued good behavior.
Sherry’s speech was kinda stiff but she looks dazzling not just for a 61-year-old woman, but for a woman any age.

Favorite moments so far…

— Meryl Streep giving co-presenters (and co-stars) Emily Blunt and Anne Hathaway the evil eye from the audience when they quiz each other over who forgot to fetch Miss Streep her capacinno (I can’t spell it!)

— Helen Mirren, that classy English Dame, saying the entire title of “Borat:Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kasakhstan” with a straight face and dignified manner…making it all the funnier.

— Host Ellen asking Speven Speilberg to take a photo of her and Clint Eastwood in the audience. Then had him take a second one because it wasn’t centered enough.

— Ellen saying Dame Judi Dench was not at the awards because she was having “knee surgery” (she used air quotes) then adding that it was actually surgery on eyes. Then later she says she has to correct herself: “It wasn’t her eyes…it was her boobs.”

Ellen to nominees: “It’s not that we don’t have time for long speeches…we don’t have time for boring speeches!”

Happy Feet win gives Greg happy face…

As an uncle who takes his niece and nephew to just about every animated film that comes out, I take special interest in the best animated film category. I figured “Cars” would win. It was good, it’s Pixar, made gobs of money, had top-flight talent. But the movie that me and the kids really loved was Happy Feet. After it was over, my 5-year-old nephew Ben could not stop tap dancing. “I have happy feet!” he explained. I mostly loved that this film had a wonderful message about accepting people’s (or penguin’s) differences…that different isn’t bad. Let people, or penguins, be their authentic selves.