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Hollywood's After Party

Aired February 26, 2007 - 00:00   ET


SIBILA VARGAS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. I'm Sibila Vargas.

It certainly has been a night of surprises and excitement at the 79th Annual Academy Awards.

And now, Sibila, it is time to party.

VARGAS: Let's do it!

HAMMER: Let's go over to Brooke Anderson at the biggest bash of them all with all that really good food, the Governor's Ball.

BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN ANCHOR, HOLLYWOOD'S AFTER PARTY: Oh, yeah. Can you believe it? And 1500 guests expected to attend, they're going to serve caviar, they're going to serve steak, they're going to serve salmon. All organic food by Wolfgang Puck, but we're still waiting on the first big winner to arrive here tonight.

We're here inside the Kodak Theater, so they don't even have to leave the site. They just go up a couple of escalators and, boom, right here ready to party. It's a spectacular gala where Hollywood royalty really gather to hob-knob with all the big winners, just to kick back, have some great food, have some wonderful drinks.

But before we party too hard, I want to get a recap of the big winners of night. A.J., back to you.

HAMMER: All right, we'll get to some of those big winners in just a second. But Sibila, I'm curious what your favorite moment of the night was. Because I'm going to remember the 79th Annual Academy Awards for some laughter, some tears and Jack Nicholson, pardon for me saying this, looking like Britney Spears.

VARGAS: I couldn't recommend him -- you know, with his bald head, but I think one of my favorite moments was when Jennifer Hudson got her award.

HAMMER: Yes, Jennifer Hudson, as everybody knew, was a shoe in to win in the best supporting actress category for her breakout role in "Dreamgirls." This is a young woman who went on to "American Idol." She started in her home town, singing in church, just outside of Chicago. She was rejected from "American Idol" and it was interesting, because I believe Simon Cowell even had some words for Jennifer Hudson before the Awards started tonight.

VARGAS: Yeah, he didn't that she would make it. And look at her, she went all the way. And what I liked about her speech was that it was is was very heartfelt. And I had spoken to her before and we're going to get into that later, but she told me she had to come up, almost to prepare for her speech. So it's something that they have to think about before they get up there.

Helen Mirren, she just won the lead actress and not a big surprise there, right?

HAMMER: No, there's not. And of course, the award ceremony is still going on, but activity is always going on backstage. Let's see what's happening live backstage at the Kodak Theater right now.

MELISSA ETHRIDGE, SINGER: And I try to do my best in every part that I can. And I urge the jet industry to look for alternative ways of fueling their jets.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you very much. And congratulations.

ETHRIDGE: Thank you so much.

HAMMER: Bit win for Melissa Etheridge tonight, winning in the category of best original song.

Mike Fleeman, the West Coast editor for "People" magazine is joining us once again.

Thank you for being here with us. It has been a terrific night. Let's talk about a couple of the big surprises to come out of the night. Now, a lot of people were counting on Eddie Murphy to walk away with the Academy Award -- and first of all, just a shocker that he was nominated -- to so many people, because he ordinarily doesn't do the type of roles that get nominations. He didn't get walk away with the best supporting actor Oscar, tonight.

And as somebody suggested to me maybe having pictures of himself, all over town, dressed as a big fat black woman didn't help his cause at all, for his movie, "Norbit". But what do you think? Alan Arkin ended up being the one to take home that Oscar gold?

MIKE FLEEMAN, WEST COAST EDITOR, "PEOPLE": He did. And you know, that's got to be a sentimental choice. He was nominated some 40 years ago and, you know, Eddie did do a lot of publicity on behalf of this nomination. He doesn't usually do press and maybe there was a little bit of a backlash.

HAMMER: And from that shocker, to a lot of people, we move on to something that was bound to happen. Helen Mirren, winning the Academy Award tonight for best actress, for her role in "The Queen". And oh my goodness, what a role it was and just doesn't get more well deserved than that does it?

FLEEMAN: That's right. I mean this was a fait accompli. She was the one who was supposed to win, and she did win. That one went just according to script.

HAMMER: Didn't think there was any chance that wasn't going the happen.

The night did get a little political. And we actually thought, perhaps, we were going to get a big announcement from Al Gore. Al Gore and Leonardo DiCaprio get on stage together. And Leo kept pushing him, saying Al as long as you're up here in front of millions of people, is there anything big you would like to say?

And of course, Al Gore, his film, "An Inconvenient Truth", nominated in the documentary category. And the winner tonight, Al pulls out his speech and he says, well, ladies and gentlemen, I do have something to say -- and the music played him off. And it was a little bit of schtick from the former veep.

FLEEMAN: That's true. You know, Al Gore was probably the biggest winner tonight. And I think an interesting thing was the best original song. Because Melissa Etheridge came off with that victory.

I think that's because the three "Dreamgirls" songs canceled each other, and how ironic a voting irregularity this year benefited Al Gore.

HAMMER: Yes, well, there also great anticipation this year of course, about the best director race, because Martin Scorsese was trying to win the first, in six years. In any event, but Al Gore -- winning that award -- we'll move on to the best director, I guess. We'll talk about that shortly.

FLEEMAN: Yeah. Best director, obviously, this is the one that everybody wants to go to Marty Scorsese. He is the sentimental choice. It is his year.

HAMMER: Also the winner in the best actor category -- this just in. I'm sorry.

It was literally coming to me as we speak. This was also -- I'm about to announce the news to you. Also, he was the one to beat, Forest Whitaker, in the best actor category, he wins the Oscar gold tonight.

FLEEMAN: You know, "The Last King of Scotland", that was the role of a lifetime, and it is one of those roles that I think every actor dreams of having. He won all of the awards leading up to this, and this was totally to be expected.

HAMMER: A lot of people will be generally talking about how the show felt. You know, every year everybody gets excited about the Academy Awards, and there are certainly great moments to it, and certainly you will hear critics saying, well, the show is little slow. It wasn't exactly what we were expecting. What was your feel on the vibe of the night?

FLEEMAN: I think the show started out slowly. The opening was little weak and we didn't have any of the even medium-sized awards up front, as we usually did. And it took a while to get going. On the other hand, I think Ellen DeGeneres a marvelous host. She rose to the occasion. Her bit with Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood, having her picture taken by Steven Spielberg, was -- you know, one of the highlights of the show, frankly. So she was able to keep the show going even after kind of a slow start.

HAMMER: Do you think she'll be asked back? Because as we know, some people particularly certain comedians, oh, David Letterman, he was never asked back after he was on. Billy Crystal, of course, did the show a number of times.


HAMMER: Do you think we'll see Ellen being asked back after tonight's performance?

FLEEMAN: No, Ellen was a hit tonight, and after Al Gore, I'd after to say the big winner tonight was Ellen DeGeneres.

HAMMER: What a great story in the case of the best original screenplay; "Little Miss Sunshine" winning for that.

FLEEMAN: You know, that was -- we don't usually look to the best original screenplay speeches as being that touching. They're screenwriters, we don't know who they are, but it was a very poignant acceptance speech. And he drew upon his own family's experience in writing that screenplay.

HAMMER: And of course "The Vanity Fair" party under way. There we see Tom Cruise currently arriving. And is that his lovely bride?

FLEEMAN: That looks like Katie Holmes, yes.

HAMMER: In fact, in tow tonight. Of course, "Vanity Fair" just one of the many parties that are going on around town. Our own Brooke Anderson is hanging out at the Governor's Ball. We'll be checking in with her in a few minutes.

What else, tonight, is worthy of note? We've covered a lot of ground so far. It's a long show. They pack a lot of punch into it.

FLEEMAN: Well, I think there's going to be the after, after parties and something else. Patrick Whitesell (ph), a big Hollywood figure has a very exclusive party after, after the other parties. "People" magazine has a very exclusive party late tonight. So the official partying ends and then the unofficial partying begins.

HAMMER: Well, speaking of the official partying, that's where our own Brooke Anderson is at the official Governor's Ball party. With all that great Wolfgang Puck food -- Brooke.

ANDERSON: Hi there, yeah. I'm here at the Governor's Ball, and the reporters, the media, everyone is here anxiously awaiting the arrivals of the winners.

And just a few moments ago, when it was announced that Forest Whitaker won that best actor Oscar, for his performance in "The Last King of Scotland," Everyone erupted in applause and cheered. Everyone is very excited here. We're going to have more from the Governor's Ball in just a moment.

Plus we're also going to talk about Oscar fashion. Who looked good, and who fell really flat on the red carpet? First, a red carpet moment from the arrival line.


HELEN MIRREN, WON BEST ACTRESS AWARD: This whole process is fun. It's extraordinary. It's surreal. It's dramatic. And it's everything that you can wish for, and over in a flash.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Being such an established comic actor to now, being an established Oscar nominee?

EDDIE MURPHY, NOMINATED FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: I feel wonderful. This is, you know, a wonderful, wonderful night. I'm floating.



I got to tell you, right now, Martin Scorsese just became an Oscar winner. He finally got his Oscar gold, winning the best director category. This is a man who has been nominated six times and but not anymore. Now he is actually an Oscar winner.

He's going to be doing a lot of celebrating. And I'm sure there's a lot of celebrating going around all of Hollywood right now, after the 79th Annual Awards and Brooke Anderson is out there at the Governor's Ball, where's there's plenty of action.

Brooke, what is going on?

ANDERSON: Plenty of action here at the Governor's Ball, but right now I want to go backstage for the Academy Awards, where Jennifer Hudson, is speaking live right now. Let's take a listen.


JENNIFER HUDSON, BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR: It was a surprise and still is. It's going to take a while to get used to this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Going to 41, and then 203 will be next.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Jennifer, congratulations.

HUDSON: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Liz Ethan (ph), from "US Weekly". What do you think about the rumors of tension on set, with you and the other cast members, with Beyonce?

HUDSON: Well, it's not true, so it's not much to think about it. How about that?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to 203 over here, and then back to 87 in the back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Jennifer, Janet Davies (ph) from Chicago.

HUDSON: How are you?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are you doing?

HUDSON: I'm good.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations. We are so proud of you in Chicago.

HUDSON: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Tell me how are you stay that same sweet girl who sang in the Chicago church choir?

HUDSON: I always go home and still sing in that church choir in Chicago. That's my reality, and that's what helps keep me grounded.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you, 87 in the back, and then 216.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jennifer, Bill Swacker (ph) and also from Chicago from "The Chicago Sun Times" and CBS. Hi, over here.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congratulations.

HUDSON: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have watched your whole journey. What is it -- you've often talked about your faith, you've often talked about your Chicago roots. What is it about that, do you think that you have brought to the role?

HUDSON: Oh, you know, what -- the emotion. You know? Being able to be connected and making it real, because that's what I started doing. Where I learned the emotion at, is in church and singing from the heart. Thank God, I had that, because I was able to draw from it, and use it with this character.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We'll go to 216, and then over here to 298. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Jennifer.

HUDSON: Hello.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Congratulations. I work for (INAUDIBLE)

HUDSON: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm sure it's been a very magical night for you, other than winning the Oscar, what will you remember most from tonight?

HUDSON: Oh my God -- performing -- at the Oscars. I mean, this is my first one. And to be here, for one, and then to be nominated, and then to win and then to perform.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sorry, "The Departed" just won best picture.

HUDSON: Go on, "Departed".

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So, 298 and then over to 55. 298?



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You look very gorgeous.

HUDSON: Thank you.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You mentioned about -- my name is I'm Fran Ineesa (ph), from VOA, Voice of America, from Indonesian Service.


VARGAS: And we are just getting word "The Departed" just won best picture. Quite a celebration there for Martin Scorsese, finally picking up his award and Also his film being recognized. He is gong to be partying and there's a lot of partying all around Los Angeles tonight. Now, traditionally, one of the biggest parties is the "Vanity Fair" party and that's where we find our own Sumi Das -- Sumi.


Well, for more than 10 years the "Vanity Fair" party at Morton's on Melrose has been the post-Oscar affair. It began in 1994. And it filled a void that was left when Swifty Lazar passed away. He hosted a party at Spago for 30 years. Now, a couple of years ago "Vanity Fair" editor, Grayden Carter, wrote a book giving people an inside look at this party.

And he said it's not just about those who you invite, it's about those who you don't invite. So, who makes it onto the guest list? Actors, of course, but it is also writers and rock stars, politicians, and other news makers. And we spoke to them earlier tonight. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone's going to come to this one. And this is the one that's the most fun, and the one you get to see everyone that you haven't seen in years. And you get to meet people, and stuff like that.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: You know how these awards go. It could -- anything can happen, but I think, you know, the fact that Forest got the recognition that he absolutely deserved.


DAS: You just heard Oprah Winfrey talking there. Now, she said that it's important to recognize the black nominees. That was part of the reason why she came, to support the black nominees. And so she must have been happy that two African-American actors walked away with Oscars tonight. Jennifer Hudson for best supporting Oscar, and Forest Whitaker took home the award for best actor. So, a lot of diversity among the nominees this year.

Now, most of the guests at this party start to show up after the Oscars. Some do arrive early as I mentioned. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes were here a few moments ago. And we are seeing that Angie Harmon, just to my left here, and also comedian Larry David. We're going to keep track of all the celebs, as they show up ready to hob- knob with the others inside. We'll let you know --Sibila.

VARGAS: Thanks, Sumi. It looks like you're having a really great time. We'll be back to you a little bit later.

But one of the biggest stories, as Sumi Das was saying, coming into the Oscars was the incredible diversity of the nominees. Five black actors among the nominees, including four African-Americans. Joining us to talk about the night turned out for them, Cori Murray of "Essence" magazine.

Cori, how are you doing?


VARGAS: Thank you for being here.

MURRAY: Thank you.

VARGAS: Tell me, what do you think about tonight, and just the history making of this award show?

MURRAY: Well, I think it is interesting. I know that Jesse Jackson made this big statement, there's still not enough diversity in Hollywood, but what's interesting, and I believe from when the Oscars began to 2001, there was only 13 African-Americans ever nominated, but from 2002 until now, 11 have been nominated, tonight with five.

I think we have made tremendous leaps, and I think it was a great night for the Oscars. And congratulations to Jennifer Hudson winning best supporting actress.

VARGAS: How has the African-American community taken all of this? How have they reacted?

MURRAY: We have been very proud, at least this year. We have been very proud and even two years ago with "Ray" and Jamie Foxx, winning. So, it's funny that Jesse Jackson made that comment, because you know, to me, in our community, no one has been saying anything because we're are definitely making strides.

VARGAS: He also says, Jesse Jackson, that they're about 6,000 Academy voting members and about 110 of them are African-Americans. So, there is some of a disparity and the numbers low and needs addressed.

MURRAY: That's true. Even on the red carpet I talked to Spike Lee and said yes, it's those gate keeper positions are still not where African-Americans are. And you know, what, we're taking a step at time. So, we're getting there on film, we're getting there behind the camera and next we're going to get behind in the Academy of Motion Pictures, and make those decisions there, too. But we're getting there.

VARGAS: So, you are very hopeful for next year and the year after that?

MURRAY: Yes. Yes, I am. This is definitely the beginning because I think we can't go anywhere but up from now on.

VARGAS: What do you think about Eddie Murphy? Because he was supposed to be the shoe in, and he didn't take the award. What is your feeling about that?

MURRAY: You know, I was reading today in the paper, people were like, oh, you know, this was a great time for him, because he's done so many worse -- bad movies, but you know what, some of the best movies in our community the like "Coming to America" the "Boomerang", Harlem Nights". For him to be here tonight was just enough. The fact that he didn't win, I wasn't that upset. Because it was like, you know, Eddie, you are just beginning.


MURRAY: He has "Shrek" coming out. He has some other things. This was his comeback. I think we were all just happy to see Eddie Murphy back.

VARGAS: Yes. And I'm sure it will motivates him to do more of these types of films, as well.

MURRAY: Yes, yes.

VARGAS: Thank you so much for joining us.

MURRAY: No problem. Thank you. VARGAS: Also want to continue talking about Jennifer Hudson. What a night it was for Jennifer Hudson. She was expected to win -- and win she did. But the road to success hasn't been a smooth one for her. She talked to me before the Oscars about her journey to the Academy Awards.


JENNIFER HUDSON, ACTRESS, SINGER (singing): I knew, I knew, you're going to love me!

VARGAS: It would appear they do. And for Jennifer Hudson, what a journey it's been.

HUDSON: When I was 19 years old, I cruised the seas, working for Disney. When I 21, I was on "American Idol," the No. 1 TV show, and I toured with the Idols at 22. At 23, 24, I was filming "Dreamgirls". And what am I? 25 now?

VARGAS (on camera): Long before "Dreamgirls" made her a household name, seven-year-old Jennifer Hudson got her start here, singing at the Pleasant Gift Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago.

HUDSON: It went from, no, you can't have a solo, to now I can't walk in the church without singing.

VARGAS (voice over): Hudson grew up in Chicago's rough Inglewood area, where she attended the same school as music greats Lou Rawls and the Staple Sisters.

HUDSON: That's one of the things that inspired me, growing up as a kid. Knowing that I can be in the presence of -- so that must mean I can achieve it.

VARGAS: But not without tremendous difficulty, including a very painful, very public seventh place dismissal from "American Idol".

SIMON COWEL, JUDGE, AMERICAN IDOL: Let me sum this up for you, I think you're out of your depth in this competition.

HUDSON: Once again, even after "Idol", there was absolutely nothing. What is next? What do I do?

VARGAS: Then came the call that would change Hudson's life forever.

With no acting experience, Hudson beat out 780 actors for the part of Effie White. The role has earned her a near sweep of this year's acting awards, and a catapulted her to stardom.

HUDSON: It's like -- ah!

VARGAS: Now strolling through the Roosevelt Hotel where they handed out the first Oscars, the once-defeated dream girl is on top.

HUDSON: I'm a normal girl, just like the girl next door, you know? Who just had a dream and went after it.


VARGAS: And they do, Jennifer. They do.

I wonder what "American Idol" judge Simon Cowell is thinking tonight.

Well, let's go to Brooke now, over at the Governor's Ball -- Brooke.

ANDERSON: Hi, there Sibila, I'm still here at the Governor's Ball, here at the Kodak Theater and the stars making their way here to us. If you take a look behind me, we can get a sneak peek inside.

Violin players are giving us some music. You can see the staff, hundreds of staff members anxiously awaiting the stars, so that they can serve them; 500 bottles of champagne were chilled for this event. They've got beef, they've got salmon. They've got pounds and pounds of chocolate. Anything that they want, the stars are going to bet in here. It's really a chance for them all to hob knob, to kick back, to enjoy their wins. If they didn't win, to enjoy their recognition.

And Wolfgang Puck catering the event, once again, and he said that he wants it all to be an organic menu. He has cooked with all organic and all natural products.

But stay with us, the party is just getting started. Coming up, we are going to have the red carpet fashion, all the hits and the misses. Stay right here.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It's not any pressure, but it is difficult. And it's a very, very wonderful problem to have -- for a woman to have too many dresses is great.



JACK NICHOLSON, ACTOR: And the Oscar goes to "The Departed."




HAMMER: Look at that, a bald Jack Nicholson announcing the winner of this year's best picture at the 79th Annual Academy Awards.

This was the category that a lot of people said was just tough to call, and it went to "The Departed." Marty Scorsese finally getting his Oscar nod winning for best director for the very same picture. Welcome to HOLLYWOOD'S AFTER PARTY. I'm A.J. Hammer live just outside the Kodak Theater. You can see on the red carpet behind me, this is not where the party is going on. The parties are happening all over town, including Elton John's annual "Vanity Fair" party and that's where CNN's own Sumi Das is standing by with an Oscar winner tonight -- Sumi.

DAS: Good evening to you, A.J. We are actually here with Larry David and Laurie David. And Laurie, you're celebrating tonight because you are one of the producers of "An Inconvenient Truth", which took home two Oscars tonight.

How does it feel?

LAURIE DAVID, CO-PRODUCER, "AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH": It feels fantastic. It was so exciting to see Al Gore on that stage getting his due; 30 years working on the issue of global warming. He's our very own Paul Revere. I couldn't be happier.

DAS: Show us your arm band, that you're wearing right now -- your wristband.

LAURIE DAVID: It says, Stop Global Warming. And that's what we have to do. Honestly, you know, we've got a problem, we have to solve it. We're all guilty. We all have to be part of the solution.

DAS: We all have to be part of the solution and something Al Gore said tonight. He said we need a will to act, and that's a renewable resource.


DAS: This goes beyond Hollywood, doesn't it?

LAURIE DAVID: It does. And I love what Melissa Etheridge, she says it's not Republican, it's not Democrat. This is not red state, it's not blue state. This is all of us. And it's true. We are all guilty. We all have to be part of the solution.

And I was particularly satisfied for the rest of the world to see that Americans care about this issue. The fact that the Oscars went green, this is historic. And there were so many great messages during the whole show, about the fact that we are all environmentalists. So I thought it was a wonderful evening.

DAS: We did keep hearing it. You said you have a particular wish.


DAS: Tell us what that is.

LAURIE DAVID: Here's my wish and want to see happen from tonight. My wish is that Laura Bush says to her husband, because I'm sure they're watching the show, George, come on. Let's watch this movie. Let's see what all the fuss is about. And tomorrow they ask for the DVD and they watch it. And Larry has offered to pop the popcorn for them if they would consider watching the film.

LARRY DAVID: First of all, can you believe the name of my show is "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and I'm married to her.


How is that possible?

DAS: She's an enthusiastic woman.

LARRY DAVID: She's quite enthusiastic.

DAS: Thank you very much for chatting with us and congratulations on the win and showing us your armband. And have a great time.

Oh, tell us why you keep coming back to this party. Why this party in particular?

LAURIE DAVID: Why this party? Well, because -- why? Because we love Grayden Carter and we love the magazine. And they do -- seriously, they have a green issue coming out in April.

LARRY DAVID: Because it's the only one we're invited to. How about that?

DAS: I find that hard to believe. This is THE party to be invited to.

LARRY DAVID: This is the one we're invited to, so we came.

DAS: It's a good one to be invited to.

LARRY DAVID: If you had a party and you had invited us, we might have considered it, too.

DAS: Next year. Next year I invite you?

LAURIE DAVID: You got it. We'll be there.


DAS: See you next year.

LAURIE DAVID: Thank you so much.

LARRY DAVID: You know, what? My mother use dot say, it doesn't hurt to ask.

DAS: So, sounds like next year I'm hosting a party and I'm inviting Larry David.

A.J., we'll send it back to you. We'll keep you posted on all the stars and celebrities that show up here at Morton's on Melrose.

HAMMER: It doesn't hurt to ask and the worst they can say is no. I love that couple, because talk about a couple that truly balances each other out. Come on.

There are certainly parties going on all around town and earlier tonight we caught up with the stars headed into Elton John's big Oscar party, where they show to watch the Oscars taking place. And this is what they had to say as they showed up.


TIM ALLEN, ACTOR: Love the music. He always has some special music guests.

JAMES BLUNT, SINGER: For me, it's just a huge honor to be here. Asked to be here in the first place, and if we get out on the stage together and play, that would be as you say one of the peaks of a any musician's career, really.

ELTON JOHN: To be blatant, tonight we are going to raise over $4 million, by far and away the biggest night as an Oscar party.

SEAN DIDDY COMBS: Look at me. I look good. Come on, man. Doesn't get better than this.



HAMMER: Elton John's party raises money for his AIDS charity, and a lot of money, as well. Well, the Oscar winners have been filing backstage after they pick up their statues to let everybody know what it feels like to win. And somebody who won for the first time tonight is Forest Whitaker, winning in the "Best Actor" category.

Let's listen to what he has to say about his score tonight.

QUESTION: You told me when I interviewed you about this, that you needed to find a core of humanity about him, and you spent a good deal of time thinking about that. You were playing a dictator -- a ruthless dictator, a killer of many people. Talk about how you went to find the core of a person inside of all of that?

FOREST WHITAKER, OSCAR WINNER: Well, you know, I mean, I went back to the source. I went to talk to his brothers and his sisters and I tried to understand what happened when he was a kid. He was working on a sugar cane plantation. His dad left him and all of these -- once you start like figuring out all of these different moments in his life, then and you start covering them up with the darker things, sure, but you start off, like, with this little child who like you're trying to figure out and you're making choices and you go along. And slowly, slowly it gets covered up with all of the monstrous things that people think about him. But in the beginning, he was just this little kid running around the (INAUDIBLE) plantation trying to, like, pick sugar cane so, you know.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going to 55 and then over to 310. QUESTION: Hi, Forest. Right here. Right here.


QUESTION: Hi, Margina Christian (ph), JET magazine.


QUESTION: Hi. Congratulations.

WHITAKER: Thank you.

QUESTION: I wanted to find out. You are a humble, soft-spoken man, but you were so good at being bad.


QUESTION: Did portraying this hauntingly brutal character haunt you in any ways in bringing him to life?

WHITAKER: You know, it wasn't like the movie -- it wasn't the character that was driving me crazy or anything like that. I was staying with him all of the time. But sometimes when you play the characters that -- like I played drug addicts before like -- you know, in like "Bird" and different things like that, and waking up with that kind of energy every day, that's kind of tough.

You know, because they are characters I've played that didn't want to live. And Idi Amin did want to live. And so it was different in that way. Those were tougher, you know, those characters were tough to live with. You wake up in the morning and you think, you know, I don't feel like doing this. You know what I mean? But this was so much intensity. It was in some ways at times invigorating.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We're going over to 310 and then back to 334.

QUESTION: Forest, congratulations.


QUESTION: Alan Silverman (ph) reporting for 702 Radio (ph) in Johannesburg. You were just in Africa premiering the film in...

HAMMER: There were a couple of surprise wins at the 79th Annual Academy Awards tonight. That was not one of them. Pretty much a shoo-in to win the best actor category, Forest Whitaker for "The Last King of Scotland."

CNN's lady in red, Brooke Anderson, is live at the Governors Ball as all of the winners are starting to file in -- Brooke.

ANDERSON: That's right, A.J. We are getting more and more crowded here at the Governors Ball. Greg Kinnear and Steve Carell just walked in. They were anxious to get to the party. Of course, they starred in "Little Miss Sunshine. "Little Miss Sunshine," a big winner tonight, won an Oscar for "Best Original Screenplay," and also "Best Supporting Actor" for Alan Arkin.

The winners will soon be making their way in even more and hopefully we will have some of those in just a minute. But stay with us. We're going to talk Oscar fashion, the hits, the misses from the Red Carpet. You don't want to miss that. "Hollywood's After Party" continues.


ANDERSON: Now, Kelly, here you are in animal print on the Oscar Red Carpet. You don't see that very often.

KELLY PRESTON, ACTOR: You don't. It was a choice. He gave it to me for Christmas. It's a Dolce & Gabbana. And I thought it was so fabulous that I had to wear it.

ANDERSON: Listen to you, John. Picking out the clothes for the Oscars.

JOHN TRAVOLTA, ACTOR: Pick out my wife's clothes.




ANDERSON: And you said you've come so far that now your parents can be proud because years and years ago, you were what, arrested?


VARGAS: Welcome back to "Hollywood's After Party." The hits, the misses, the catty chatter, no Oscar party is complete without a fashion score card. Joining me now, fashion editor Marry Alice Stephenson of Bazaar magazine.

Mary Alice, I know you particularly loved Nicole Kidman.

MARY ALICE STEPHENSON, FASHION EDITOR, BAZAAR: Nicole Kidman looked striking in her Balenciaga. It was a bold move. It was a fashion chance and she got it right. Red, silk tulle, the bow. When she walked down that red carpet with that long red bow draping behind her, it was a stunning, stunning moment.

VARGAS: I just can't, you know, imagine what Tom Cruise -- because he was there, what he must have been thinking about his ex. She looked stunning.

STEPHENSON: She looked beautiful. And she made it really modern because she kept her makeup very clean. She didn't wear jewelry. Very long, long simple clean hair. So she just looked modern and very striking.

VARGAS: Doesn't she always do that, though? Nicole Kidman seems to always be a fashion hit. STEPHENSON: She is a fashion chameleon. She works with a lot of different designers. You never know what she is going to do on the red carpet. She keeps it exciting for us fashionistas out there.

VARGAS: And also she is very tall. And I think a lot of people -- I mean, well, she looks tall, but she is actually a lot taller than she looks.

STEPHENSON: She is about my height, six feet tall, absolutely. And she wears those stilettos. And we always love to watch her on the red carpet. She always gets it right and she really wears some of the most important designers of our time.

VARGAS: Yes. Let's talk about Meryl Streep, on the other hand. I don't think you -- what are you thinking about her?

STEPHENSON: Well, I'm a huge fan of Miuccia Prada, I love Prada so much. And they just sent down their fall runway show in Milan and it was a hit. But I just didn't think that Meryl looked Oscar-worthy. She could wear that outfit strolling down a street in Manhattan and look fabulous. But the Prada didn't work so well on the red carpet. It wasn't glamorous enough to me. A little sloppy. Those are Fred Leighton jewels, coral that she was wearing around her neck, just wasn't my favorite.

VARGAS: Would you say that Meryl Streep has a tendency to dress -- I mean...

STEPHENSON: I think she really got it right for the Golden Globes in the Carolina Herrera gown. And -- but, yes, I think that Anna Wintour, "The Devil Wears Prada" would have maybe dressed with something a little bit nicer.

VARGAS: Well, you know what? What she makes up, she makes up in her acting talent, right?


VARGAS: Right. Who cares? Who cares?

STEPHENSON: When you have that much talent, who needs to be fashionable?

VARGAS: Exactly. Let's talk about Kate Blanchett.

STEPHENSON: I loved Kate Blanchett. She was wearing Giorgio Armani Prive. Sterling silver beaded dress, very clean. Again, she looked modern. It was sparkly, it was embellished, but she kept it simple with the hair, which I liked. It wasn't too hairdo-ish.

VARGAS: Not too many people not doing a lot of the sequences (ph), but she really did it very well.

STEPHENSON: Yes. Embellishment is a big trend right now, for spring-summer and moving forward for fall. And the mercury-colored silver was all over the runways this past New York Fashion Week. VARGAS: I have seen her usually in gold, but this mercury was a little different. And it was nice to see her in that.

STEPHENSON: Yes. I loved it. I thought it was just breathtaking.

VARGAS: All right. Well, thank you so much, again, for talking to us about fashion and breaking it all down.

STEPHENSON: Absolutely.

VARGAS: Well, we're be back here, so you're not going to want to miss it. Stay tuned for more of "Hollywood's After Party."




AL GORE, OSCAR WINNER: My fellow Americans...


GORE: ... people all over the world, we need to solve the climate crisis. It is not a political issue. It is a moral issue. We have everything we need to get started with the possible exception of the will to act. That's a renewable resource. Let's renew it.



ANDERSON: Former Vice President Al Gore there after accepting an Oscar for "Best Documentary" for his movie "An Inconvenient Truth." Now Al Gore has just arrived here at the Governors Ball. If we can take a shot of him. He is making his way with director Davis Guggenheim there down the row of media outlets. We should be talking to him in the next few minutes.

Al Gore is getting a lot of help from Hollywood with his campaign against global warming. This is a documentary that debuted at the Sundance Film Festival back in 2006. I was there. We spoke to director Davis Guggenheim, we spoke to Al Gore. And everyone -- you know, no one knew how the movie was going to be received, but it was received well. It went on to make millions and millions of dollars at the box office and now he is taking this message worldwide.

He had about a billion viewers worldwide for the Academy Awards here tonight. Former Vice President Al Gore very successful here at the 79th Annual Academy Awards. Right now I want to take it over to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party at Morton's with Sumi Das.

Sumi, what do you have?

SUMI DAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, we have actually one of the guests who was invited, got a coveted invitation to the Vanity Fair party, CNN's own senior political analyst, Bill Schneider, who has been inside watching the Oscars and just rubbing shoulders with the rich, famous and powerful.

Let's talk about Al Gore's win tonight. Well, really, it wasn't his win, but a win for a film that he was very, very involved in, "An Inconvenient Truth." Now two weeks ago we saw the Dixie Chicks sweep the Grammys. Tonight, "An Inconvenient Truth" won two Oscars. Are we seeing a trend here? Should we -- can we even make anything of this?

WILLIAM SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Oh, I think it definite is a statement. You could (INAUDIBLE) party. When he won there was a whoop of excitement going up in the room. I mean, it was amazing. This was not just a win for Al Gore, the filmmakers, it was also a win for his cause which is very, very big here in Hollywood. The environmental cause which they take very seriously.

DAS: They do, indeed. And he thanked them for their interest in his cause. And we heard a couple of people say, among them Leonardo DiCaprio, Davis Guggenheim, exactly, the filmmaker of "An Inconvenient Truth," say that he was an inspiration. Is he getting some momentum here and he is going to -- is he going to parlay that into any political moves? What do you think?

SCHNEIDER: Well, he knew how to play with this moment. He took out a sheet of paper early in the evening when he was a presenter and he said, I have an important announcement to make, I want to use this occasion. And then, in a carefully choreographed sequence, the music started and he walked away.

So it was a very interesting, funny and dramatic moment. A lot of people here wish he would run. I'll tell you that. He has a constituency, particularly after the in-fighting between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. There are a lot of people who have been saying to me, we wish Al Gore would really run. It would save the Democratic Party. Most of the people here are Democrats.

DAS: OK. And we have to wrap it up but -- otherwise we wish you more fun tonight in the party. Thanks for talking to us.

SCHNEIDER: A pleasure.

DAS: That was Bill Schneider. He is here at the Vanity Fair party. And we are keeping an eye on all of the people who are showing up here. Sacha Baron Cohen just showed up, actually, and he was up for "Adapted Screenplay" Oscar. He did not win, however. We'll send it back to you, Sibila.

VARGAS: That should be fun with Sacha Baron Cohen down there. I can't wait to hear from him. Also we are talking to Mike Fleeman from People magazine. So much about the awards show is about the host. So let's listen in to a little bit of Ellen DeGeneres.


ELLEN DEGENERES, OSCAR HOST: Right now, it's a level playing field. You don't really know who's going to win unless you're British and then you know you have a pretty good shot.


DEGENERES: A lot of British nominees. A lot. Would I say too many? Not here, no. At home in my pajamas and a half a box of chardonnay in me, who knows what I'd say?

There's no rhyme or reason to who is going to win, how they figure these things out because you can't -- Jennifer Hudson, Jennifer Hudson here tonight, and look at that. I tell you.


DEGENERES: Jennifer Hudson was on "American Idol." America didn't vote for her and yet she is here with an Oscar nomination. That's amazing. That's incredible.


DEGENERES: And then Al Gore is here, America did vote for him and then...


DEGENERES: ... it's


DEGENERES: What a wonderful night. Such diversity in the room in a year when there has been so many negative things said about people's race, religion and sexual orientation. And I want to put this out there. If there weren't blacks, Jews and gays, there would be no Oscars.



VARGAS: So Ellen DeGeneres, she has done the Grammys. She has done the Emmys. How do you think she scored with the Oscars, Mike?

MIKE FLEEMAN, PEOPLE: You know, I think she was somewhere between Jon Stewart and some of the better hosts that we have had. Billy Crystal, obviously. You know, she didn't have a lot to work with tonight. There was nobody doing one-armed push-ups. There wasn't like one movie that dominated everything. Yet she kept an otherwise slow show going. She brought sort of a casual comedy.


FLEEMAN: And she brought the star-studded audience up to the stage and into our living rooms.

VARGAS: Yes. I spoke to her earlier, and she had told me that that's what she wanted to do. She didn't want to make it about herself, she didn't want to do much of the dancing. Although she did a little, right? She did some. She didn't want to upstage any of the stars. She really wanted to make it about the nominees. Do you think she did that?

FLEEMAN: I think she did that just fine. And she did these wonderful bits with Steven Spielberg and Clint Eastwood, bringing them into the comedy. She did a funny thing with Marty Scorsese, handing him her script. So she made it very much about the people there yet also kept it funny.

VARGAS: Right. And Laura Ziskin, the producer of the show, invited Ellen. She saw Ellen do the 2001 Emmy Awards show. And this was right after 9/11. And she thought she had done such a fabulous job. And do you think she -- oh, could you hold on one second. I think Brooke Anderson has Al Gore -- Brooke.

ANDERSON: I do. Hi there, Sibila. I'm joined by Oscar-winner, former Vice President Al Gore and director of "An Inconvenient Truth," Davis Guggenheim.

Mr. Gore, have you officially now gone Hollywood? Here we are with the Oscar.

GORE: I'm so proud of Davis Guggenheim and the producers of this movie. And I'm so proud of Melissa Etheridge for winning the best song award. It's really -- it really has been Davis' vision to turn my slideshow into a movie that has won two Oscars now. And I hope that will lead more people to see it.

ANDERSON: You know, I was there at Sundance when this film debuted. And no one knew anything about it and there you guys were crossing your fingers that it would have a big impact. It has gone on to have a huge impact, not only with moviegoers but politically, as well. How special is that to you? Because you have been...

GORE: Thanks for your early reporting on it, by the way.

ANDERSON: Of course. And you have been on this campaign for, what, three decades now?

GORE: Yes, yes. And I've been trying to tell the story but it says a lot that as soon as Davis and this incredibly creative group got involved, all of a sudden people started paying attention to it. So I'm grateful to them. I think Mother Nature has played a role, also. People are connecting the dots.

And, you know, the bottom line is, we've all got to be a part of the solution and we can solve it. But the first step is learning about it and then being a part of the solution.

ANDERSON: Well, Mr. Gore, I have to ask you, you alluded to it in a very funny way on stage tonight about making a big announcement. And then you walked off. You got cut off with that music. Any plans, any intentions to run for president?

GORE: I think the moment has passed now.

ANDERSON: Are you completely...

GORE: The music cut me off and -- you know?

ANDERSON: In the future? In the...

GORE: In all seriousness, I have -- I have said before I don't really have plans to run for office again. But I am involved in a different kind of campaign, to persuade people of the urgency of this climate crisis. It is the overriding moral challenge of our time. It shouldn't be partisan and we all have to solve it. And we can.

ANDERSON: What a great message. And, Davis, I know you told me that you have made big changes in your life, you were so influenced by this movie, as has been Melissa Etheridge. Congratulations to you both. Great to see you again.

GORE: By the way, who are you wearing?

ANDERSON: It is actually Mishka, and you?

GORE: Well, (INAUDIBLE), thank you.

ANDERSON: Thank you. Have fun tonight, guys. I appreciate it. "An inconvenient Truth," the winner of two awards tonight, "Best Documentary" and "Best Original Song" for Melissa Etheridge. Stay with us. We are going to have much more from the 79th Annual Academy Awards after the break. Don't go anywhere.



ANDERSON: Let's talk "Little Miss Sunshine." I've been calling it the little movie that could. You know, I remember when it premiered at Sundance. You and I spoke and no one there had heard anything about it, obviously. Everybody thought, what is this film? But here it is, this huge success and now nominated for "Best Picture" among other nominations. Did you ever think it would have such success?

STEVE CARELL, ACTOR: From day one.


VARGAS: Welcome back to "Hollywood's After Party." I'm Sibila Vargas. The hits, the misses, the catty chatter . No Oscar party is complete without a fashion scorecard. And joining me again, fashion editor Mary Alice Stephenson of Bazaar magazine.

Overall, Oscar 2007 will go down in history as an Oscar miss or an Oscar hit?

STEPHENSON: An Oscar hit. Chanel haute couture, Marquesa (ph), Balenciaga, (INAUDIBLE) Schuyler (ph). One after the other. Great night for fashion on the Red Carpet.

VARGAS: Well, let's look at some of the highlights.


VARGAS: I certainly see will the of fashion hits down there. Let's go down to Sumi Das at the Vanity Fair party -- Sumi.

I think Sumi -- OK. Sumi, I think she can't hear. But, yes -- oh there she is.

DAS: You're a mom now, is this award show different for you now that you're at a different stage in your life or is this still a fun party?

GWYNETH PALTROW, ACTOR: It is still thrilling and fun. I think it doesn't make me as nervous as it used to make me. My kids have given me a lot of grounding. So I'm just enjoying it more.

DAS: And was there any particular film that you were rooting for tonight? Any particular actor or actress, somebody that you were really pleased to see take home the Oscar?

PALTROW: I'm so happy to see all of the winners. Everybody seemed so deeply appreciative and it was a really, really nice night.

DAS: What did you make of the green messages we kept on hearing throughout the show?

PALTROW: I think it is good. You know, I think anything we can do, you know, to help climate change that is within our power, we should do it.

DAS: And very quickly, you have a beautiful dress on tonight.

PALTROW: Thank you. Zac Posen.

DAS: Thank you very much. Have a good time. That is Gwyneth Paltrow. We are here at the Vanity Fair party and the stars are arriving really fast now. And they're going to continue arriving through the night. Back to you.

HAMMER: Stars are arriving there. The Red Carpet is winding down here. I'm hearing the limos called out. And Brooke Anderson with us from the Governors Ball. Good night, Brooke.

ANDERSON: Good night, everybody. It has been a terrific night. Signing off from the Governors Ball. Thanks, everybody, for watching "Hollywood's After Party."

VARGAS: Thanks for joining us. I'm Sibila Vargas.

HAMMER: I'm A.J. Hammer. We'll see you next year. They start planning tomorrow, right?



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