There's a reason celebs usually hold the Academy Award with two hands, Mr Showbiz learned, and it's not because of arrogance, pride, or those ever-present gnawing insecurities. Quite the contrary. Marcia Gay Harden, for instance, was more than willing to share hers at Sony's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon party. In the midst of her arrival at Crustacean in Beverly Hills, Calif., the ebullient Harden, hugging Oscar, stopped to entertain a few questions.
"How much does that thing weigh?" we wondered.
"Eight pounds," she said. "Want to hold it? It's heavy."
Whereupon Harden forked it over to Mr. Showbiz and moved on to the next question. It was deceptively heavy, and shiny and smooth, and it took some effort not to let it smash to the ground. Yes, we imagined ourselves up at the podium, soaking in adulation. We even nearly had a "King of the World" moment, which would have been truly unfortunate, but we managed to maintain our dignity where others had failed. She came back shortly thereafter to reclaim her glory, having afforded us the night's highlight and the comfort that, yes, Mr. Showbiz needs two hands to hold his dingus.
At that point, Harden was a lot more composed than we were. "The win is in the nomination," she said. "They say that before Oscar night, and I believe it after. This is a step beyond, but I already felt like a winner."
Contrasting with Harden's timeless grace was the publicity-mongering entrance of Hugh Hefner and his harem of half a dozen smiling bleached-blond silicone girlfriends. One by one, they exited the limo, surrounding him like a collagen cocoon, and shuffled down the runway. They must have had other things on their collective brain stem because they stayed only about an hour, leaving at 11 p.m.
Offering up another dose of T&A was Traci Bingham, of Baywatch notoriety, who wore a purple strapless Richard Tyler dress that was laced up the back. "I have clothing on for once," she said with a laugh. "I didn't think I was a big fan of strapless, but I guess I can carry it off. When you've got big breasts like me, it's kind of difficult." She then pointed to a hidden zipper. "It looks like I was sewn into the dress, but I can get in and out. I can sit, I can eat, drink, and dance, or else I wouldn't have worn it."
The party got a serious jolt of star power once Chow Yun-Fat arrived. Before making his way to the press, the world's biggest star crisscrossed the street, playing to the fans and signing autographs. Crouching Tiger director Ang Lee was also welcomed warmly by the crowd, but was soon whisked away into a side entrance.
"I was a little disappointed that Ang didn't get best director," said Michelle Yeoh. "It was sort of a miracle that this happened. We hope that there will be a prequel, that was something Ang talked about." Yeoh, who also spoke to the crowd, showed up late, dressed in casual attire. "I changed from the Oscar dress because that weighed 35 pounds," she said. "I went straight back to the hotel, got out of it, and came here. It took me two hours to get ready and five minutes to change."
ER's Ming-Na also came casual, wearing a black velvet strapless number. "I was going to wear a Chinese dress, but I decided to opt for something a little more comfortable. It took me 40 minutes to get ready. Everything is straight from the closet," she said. "I really came to celebrate with my friends. For me, it was a long time coming and it was just so thrilling every time they announced a Chinese name and pronounced it right." — Larry Terenzi
Click here for a complete list of the winners.