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Oscars 2004: At the Governor’s Ball

Ten important things I learned while strolling through the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ Governors Ball, the first stop for the stars after the show on Oscar night:

1. Public Displays of Affection are allowed. Just ask couples ranging from Jude Law and Sienna Miller, who cuddled and smooched all night, to Johnny Depp and wife Vanessa Paradis, who were never more than a few inches from each other throughout the evening, to Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews, who left the party arm in arm, to Renee Zellweger and her Oscar, which was often seen clutched tightly to her bosom.

2. Charlize Theron definitely knows how to make an entrance, lighting up the room when she walked in and working all the power players with a polished sense of poise and a winning smile. When she’s off in a private corner with boyfriend Stewart Townsend or smoking a ciggie with gal pal director Patty Jenkins, she was as giddy and giggly as a schoolgirl.

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3. If Oprah Winfrey likes what you have to say, she’ll grab your hand when you’re talking, radiating even more warmth and sincerity than if you press your hand to the TV while watching her show. Oprah likes me, she really likes me!

4. Johnny Depp doesn’t eat his dessert. Peter Jackson does.

5. The husband and wife “team” of Jamie Lee Curtis and Christopher Guest may be seen in the same place, but rarely at the same time. I’ve noticed the couple on the awards circuit the last several weeks, including the Golden Globes and Writers Guild Awards and now the Governors Ball, but never actually side by side.

6. John Cusack is a babe magnet. Was there ever a moment he wasn’t surrounded by beautiful women?

7. At high-end Hollywood parties, stars of nominated films get all the free champagne they want, even if they are under 21. We won’t name names.

8. Apparently I look similar to Finding Nemo director Andrew Stanton, because more than one person asked me if I was the Oscar winner who first told his wife he loved her in an eighth grade note. I wonder if I could’ve parlayed that somehow to get a seat next to Naomi Watts…?

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9. I didn’t quite manage to see all 11 Lord of the Rings Oscars at one time, but I came darn close: As Liv Tyler fawned over Peter Jackson, there were six of the Golden Guys sitting atop his table, then another two trophies a few feet away at composer Howard Shore’s table, and one more a table away stationed next to producer Barrie Osbourne, for a grand total of nine. The whereabouts of the remaining two–still a mystery.

10. When Julia Roberts has left the building, the party’s over! Ms. Roberts sashayed out of the Governors Ball at about five minutes to 11 (presumably to party-hop to some of the other swanky soirees around town) and apparently in Hollywood circles, when the Pretty Woman calls it a night, it’s OK to bail. Guests streamed out of the party following her departure, and the party was officially DEAD by 11:45.

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