IT'S THE DAY after the Oscars
in economic-crisis America. Mind if we warm our cold fingers a little longer in that Swarovski-crystal glow?
Scanning the post-show reviews, producers Bill Condon and Laurence Mark scored well. With congenial song-and-dance hunk Hugh Jackman in the host-seat, the Oscars had more sizzle and less snipe - or, as Jackman promised Barbara Walters during her pre-show special, "a little more show and a little less biz."
Having previous winners laud nominees in specific categories got good reviews.
We found the approach touching in the actress categories. It didn't work quite as well for the men.
Especially when Michael Douglas repeatedly praised Frank Langella's Oscar-nominated performance as Richard Nixon in "Frost/Nixon" as having rendered all others obsolete. Anthony Hopkins, who played Nixon in Oliver Stone's 1995 bio-pic, was standing practically right next to him onstage.
_ The flashback in real-time technique also afforded a glimpse at how some of Hollywood's legendary beauties are aging. If you don't believe it's all about the bone structure, consider Eva Marie Saint or Sophia Loren, radiant and wrinkled.
As for Goldie Hawn? Step away from the procedures, honey, while your lips can still form words.
Now that's going green!
Excuse our ignorance, but we thought those verdant rocks dangling from Angelina Jolie's ears and poised on her index finger might have been, well, fake.
We imagined her rummaging through vintage costume jewelry with her six kids helping Mommy pick out something bright and fun - a contrast to the industrial-strength sparkle usually found on the red carpet.
We're wearing our ignorance like a pair of 115-carat Colombian emerald earrings and matching 65-carat ring. Jeweler Lorraine Schwartz designed 'em, and the ensemble has been estimated at prices comparable to a small bailout - about $20 million.
Where's the love?
Some years the winners are all about thanking God. The 81st Academy Awards was more of a family affair, from the bittersweet- Heath Ledger's parents and sister accepting his posthumous best-supporting-actor statue on behalf of his daughter, Matilda - to the effusive, even for the Oscars, shout-outs to wives, partners, kids and, in Kate Winslet's case, her dad hiding in the audience under a black fedora.
So weren't we waiting for Sean Penn to say something - anything - to his lovely, long-suffering, off-again-on-again wife Robin Wright Penn, who sat there squeezing his leg as the nominees were announced, then leapt from her seat with him when he won and cupped his face in her hand for a brief, torrid lip lock of congratulations.
Sean, clearly this woman is crazy in love with you.
She has been with you since 1990. She's the mother of your children. You were on the brink of divorce last year but got back together nine months ago.
On this night of all nights in La-la land, you couldn't throw her a scrap?
Getting the gold
The glamour. The glitz. The surprise winners. The parties. That's what matters to some when it comes to Academy Awards. At Forbes.com, it's all about the money.
Hence their calculations of the dollar-for-dollar investment vs. return value of an Oscar winner.
The complicated formula made for some odd results (read more at www.forbes.com), but as many things do in Hollywood, it all came down to Morgan Freeman.
Since his 2004 win for Clint Eastwood's "Million Dollar Baby," his films have grossed $20 for every $1 he was paid. Coming in second is Cate Blanchett at $9 to $1, followed by Julia Roberts ($5.75 to $1), Charlize Theron ($5.50 to $1) and Adrien Brody ($4 to $1).
At the post-parties
Star power had nothing on US Airways' hero pilot Chesley Sullenberger and his wife, Lori, guests at the Vanity Fair Oscar fetes.
_ Our favorite vamp, Stephen Moyer of HBO's "True Blood," showed up at the VF celebration with his Oscar-winning co-star, Anna Paquin. They became an item after meeting on the show and are still relating off-screen as they film a second season.
_ Larry David brought Sherry Stringfield to Elton John's bash. They might be dating.
Larry and Sherry? Wha?
Also seen at Elton's were all the nominees and winners, along with Dennis Hopper, Sheryl Crow, Eve, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, Mick Jagger and L'Wren Scott, Sidney Poitier, Michael Douglas, and Uma Thurman and her fiance, Arki Busson.
Hot gathering - all the more because the air conditioning broke.
A Hugh success
Finally, let us simply say: Hugh Jackman.
One more time: Hugh Jackman.
All the ladies?
He should just host everything from now on.*