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The Big Night, as Julia Might Have Seen It

The best actress' 'personal thoughts' on the morning after the night before.


Dear Diary:

Well, it's over! Award? Check. Speech? Nailed it. And the whole time I kept thinking about you. You, Diary, me and you and this moment. The world can just not need Julia for a second. People yelling at me ("Julia, how does it feel?"), people whispering at me ("Julia, you are amazing"--cigarette breath, hello?). But now it's just me and you, Diary. And, frankly . . . I WON THE OSCAR! I WON THE OSCAR!

Phew, I feel better. That humble, demure "America's Sweetheart" stuff is exhausting. Still, what a night, Diary! Yes, I know what you're thinking--prom's over, babe. Yes, I know, people won't remember who won best actress a year from now. Point taken. Jeez, Diary, can't I just share this euphoric moment with you, of all people? Must you bring me down now?

Thank you, thank you ever so much. So what did you think of my unprepared speech, which I've been preparing for months now to be unprepared for? I remember what you told me, Diary. "Show, don't tell. Show, don't tell." So? Did I show? Had emotional range. Heart. Laughs. Spontaneity (I'm most proud of telling "the stick man" to cool his jets). But I digress (it's a best actress' privilege!).

OK, Diary, did I not hold up well under all the jokes from Steve Martin? Actually, I thought Steve was very funny. In fact, he kicked butt!!! As Benjamin put it in the limo afterward, Steve was "mordantly witty." Except, as I pointed out to Ben, I don't think making jokes about Afghanistan is cool, not with the oppression of women going on in connection with the Taliban. There are some things you just don't joke about, and the Taliban is one of them!

Diary, I know what you're asking: Was Annette Bening the right celebrity to introduce the clip of "Erin Brockovich" as best picture? Probably not. (Ben and my "team" said they should have had Kate Hepburn.) Look, Diary, I'm going to tell you something, and it's the same thing I told everyone. And that is this: Annette Bening was so good in "American Beauty" that I didn't even mind. I mean, damn, you're just happy to be in that seat in that auditorium, you know? Everything else is pure, unadulterated hubris.

Speaking of hubris, can I get catty here for a moment? What was that swan thing Bjork was wearing? (Ben says Icelandic people are eccentric.)

Other random thoughts:

* Russell Crowe: cool, to be able to use "bloke" in a sentence like that.

* Tacky moment of the night: Hilary Swank taking up precious seconds to thank her dad, 'cause she forgot to last year. (Then again, I did forget to mention Erin.)

* All the "Crouching Tiger" winners seemed like really super people. Should I start looking for something to make in Asia?

* Can Jennifer Lopez go anywhere without showing us, you know, Jennifer Lopez?

* Bob Dylan singing "Things Have Changed" live via satellite, from Australia. He looked like Vincent Price (tee-hee).

* Watching all those moving clips of films starring people who died this year, I got to thinking. What clips do I want shown when I die? "Erin," of course, but what else? "My Best Friend's Wedding"? "Dying Young"? Hmmm.

* Steve Martin was hilarious (But should we be even joking to the world that all of Hollywood is gay? America is our paying audience, after all. Food for thought). Steve was better than Billy Crystal. With Steve, there's just more, I don't know, air in the room, if you know what I mean. Best joke, according to Ben in the limo afterward: "Stay tuned, because at the end of the evening we're going to vote someone out of show business."

OK, soapbox time. I think there's been so much hype about the show going on four hours long that they overcompensated this year. I mean, that poor art director guy who got cut off right after he thanked his late parents? Or the other "Crouching Tiger" guy, who was rattling off all the names in Chinese? I mean, so what if the broadcast is five hours long. Where is America in such a hurry to get to, anyway? What, they have pressing plans on Oscar night?

Not that it's exactly a treat to sit through all the tributes and musical numbers. I mean, if people at home think it's tedious, think about what it's like when you're sitting in the auditorium, about to win an award for best actress.

Speaking of which. It's bye time for now, Diary. Keep those hearts and flowers coming! . . . Just had a thought: Was that stuff about the sisterhood of my fellow nominees laying it on too thick?


"Be sure to stay tuned throughout the whole show, because at the end of the night we're going to vote someone out of show business."

STEVE MARTIN, addressing viewers midway through the telecast

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