Some Oscar questions defy explanation. For starters, did big-coiffed J.Lo think she was attending Barbarella's senior prom? And then there are those mysteries that can actually be solved. Here's what puzzled us most at Sunday's Academy Awards.Where did Will Smith disappear to? The Ali nominee — who was MIA during the presentation of the best actor category — was called home to deal with a family crisis. "His 16-month-old daughter Willow became ill and he had to take her to the hospital," Smith's rep, Stan Rosenfield, tells TV Guide Online. "She had a deep ear infection and came down with a high fever." Smith and wife Jada Pinkett Smith slipped out of the Kodak Theatre shortly after Sidney Poitier received his honorary Oscar. Willow's prognosis, meanwhile, is good. "She's still sick, but the fever has dropped," Rosenfield adds. "The illness just has to run its course."
Is the Academy anti-gay?
Now that Oscar has shown that he's color-blind, a new controversy is brewing: Is he homophobic? For the second time in four years, openly gay Lord of the Rings thesp Sir Ian McKellen entered an Oscar ceremony as the frontrunner (he was considered a shoo-in in 1998 for Gods and Monsters), and once again he went home empty-handed. (Save for his young trophy husband, natch.) "I don't think Ian's loss was a defeat for gays and lesbians," says Tom O'Neil, author of Movie Awards. "It was a defeat for Lord of the Rings, which got squashed in all the major categories."
How did the show do in the ratings?
Well, ABC shouldn't be as happy as Halle Berry. According to preliminary Nielsen data, the 74th annual Oscars attracted 43 million viewers — relatively on par with last year's performance. "Considering ABC's current depressed promotional platform, where less viewers are privy to upcoming programming, a stable performance for the Academy Awards is indeed impressive," notes Mediaweek's Marc Berman.
As TV Guide Online pointed out, E! red carpet hellmouth Joan Rivers treated celebs with kid gloves this year. What was her problem?
"I don't think Joan was deliberately kinder and gentler," says O'Neil, a frequent E! contributor and a long-time Rivers pal. "I think she was just in a buoyant mood and happy to be there. It was an exciting, historic day — Oscar coming home to Hollywood." Yeah, well, we miss good 'ol bitchy Joan.
Does Whoopi love Randy?
Host Whoopi Goldberg brought the telecast to a standstill to sing the praises of songwriter Randy Newman — who finally took home a gold guy after 15 losses. When informed of Goldberg's impromptu gushfest, Newman could offer little explanation. "I think we know each other," he said. "I think we're neighbors, but she might not want that known." Too late now!
What was up with the bruise on Ethan Hawke's right cheek?
"You mean the bruise that was gone 15 minutes later," sasses Robert Garlock, his rep. Um, yeah, that one. "It was make-up. I think he brushed up against Denzel Washington's wife, Pauletta. He realized it and wiped it off."
Hawke's date — wife Uma Thurman — also stood out: Why did
her breasts look so big?
As Mrs. Hawke sat in the audience, her sudden busomy bounty was difficult to ignore — especially in that low-cut frock of hers! "She's still breastfeeding, isn't she?" offers Leon Hall, co-host of E!'s Fashion Police. "Madonna did the same thing when she had her first baby. When you're that mammarous — if that's even a word — you can't hide them. You may as well sport those puppies right up in front of you!"
Is fringe making a comeback?
Barbra Streisand, Sharon Stone and Richard Taylor — an Oscar winner for his Lord of the Rings makeup design — all were seen onstage wearing fringe. Yes, fringe! "Fringe is big in fashion again," laughs Hall. "It's not static; it keeps you moving and swooshing about. Back in the '70s, I had 12 fringe outfits in my closet. Why am I admitting this without even having had a margarita first?!"