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Man of the House: Just another night … at the Oscars

Scarlett Johansson, Nectar Imperial Champagne, a Costco tux: joining the fabulous people.

March 01, 2011|Chris Erskine
  • Champagne is served at the Governors Ball.
Champagne is served at the Governors Ball. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles…)

Man of the House columnist Chris Erskine attended his first Oscars on Sunday. Here is his report:

For my wife, Posh, this night was bigger than our wedding — not even close. Her thinking? You can have four or five husbands, but unless you marry extremely well, you get invited to the Oscars but once.

When she found out, she spun her credit card on her pretty finger and called her stylist. "You can have me from 10 to 2," our daughter warned her as they went looking for a gown. A few days later, they returned with a boutique strapped to the roof of the Honda. Score.

Me, I go off to pick up the Oscar tickets, which come clothed in a 300-thread-count envelope of Egyptian cotton. For two nights, Posh used the envelope as a pillow, cosmically connecting her — body and spirit — to the upcoming event.

Yeah, it pretty much worked.

It would not be a perfect evening. After all, she was attending her first Oscars with me, a dude so cheap I buy gas a gallon at a time. Got my tux at Costco.

So how were the Oscars, or as I like to call it, "The Kegger at the Kodak?" Well, imagine me in the mezzanine for three hours, trying to order a drink, mistaking studio accountants for waiters.

"Hey pal, beer me when you can!"

Ended up paying three bucks for a Pepsi while hanging out in the lobby and trying to restore circulation to my delicate derriere.

"Bad news," I told Posh as I slipped back into my seat.

"What happened?"

"Lindsay Lohan just stole my watch."

I'd like to be snarky and tell you that all those people were rude and self-absorbed. But that was really only me.

The Kodak is much smaller and more intimate than you might expect — think Fenway or Wrigley. In person, the awards go by faster than at home. I believe it has something to do with being in close proximity to Scarlett Johansson.

The Governors Ball? Pretty unforgettable, in a royal wedding-old Hollywood kind of way.

As you enter, an orchestra plays and a line of waiters stands by like toy soldiers, with trays of Champagne and smoked lobster. It was as if Busby Berkeley staged your bar mitzvah.

Our table is nice — or as nice as a table full of producers can be — when the next thing I know Posh has circled around to the other side to talk to Molly, one of the other wives, a Jungian psychotherapist from Topanga. No good can come of that — a Jungian and a Freudian kibitzing at the Governors Ball.

I go off in search of the chocolate fountain I've heard so much about, some sort of decadent dessert table dripping Godiva. I haven't had anything decadent in about 12 minutes, so my body is starting to dry-heave. No caviar and crème fraîche. No Nectar Imperial Champagne. That's how finely calibrated we Oscar types are. Hummingbirds with spray tans.

I wanted to stay till at least midnight at the Governors Ball to see if Posh would turn back into her civilian self. But Posherella — like Cinderella or Barbarella — can make time stand still when she wants to.

"We have four kids," I hear her tell the Jungian.

"Four?"

"Five if you count Bonzo," she says, nodding my way.

The food? Quite a feast considering that most women in the room look like they eat nothing but Altoids.

Meanwhile, winners worked the room. They carry these awards, the winners do, through the ballroom as if the trophies might run off, white-knuckling the little statuettes as they flit from table to table. It's a flighty town after all. Here today, "Tron 2" tomorrow.

Famous faces are everywhere. Jeff Bridges is over here, the center of the celebrity vortex. Justin Timberlake is over there gawking, being gawked at, gawking...

So yeah, we're still here, Posh and I. It's almost Tuesday and I'm just polishing off this last little bit of raspberry cremieux. It's all good, though. The baby-sitter has filed for custody of our children, and the Jungian and Freudian are hugging as if they won something.

On Oscar night, I guess everyone leaves a winner.

chris.erskine@latimes.com

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