The lobby of the Academy Awards show is in some ways more fascinating than the trophy contest that plays out on stage. Standing in one corner, Warren Beatty took it all in with a Cheshire grin.
"After a period of time you come to enjoy these things but they are a, um, unusual construct." Beatty watched as his wife, Annette Bening, spoke with pulsing enthusiasm to Pixar guru John Lasseter.
Beatty said he used to dread the red carpet but learned to embrace the strobe-reality of the world's most famous vanity parade.
"What you learn is that everyone else is just as embarrassed as you are and then when you know that you can all just smile."
Not far away, Jennifer Lawrence was enjoying the crowd chorus of iPhone and Blackberry reports of her fashion success in a sleek red dress that appeared painted on.
"Well I can go home now I guess," she said. "They better like it, it took long enough."
Sandra Bullock was bare-shouldered and trembling as she dashed into lobby. "It's sooo cold," she announced to no one before being pulled into a warm embrace by Matthew McConaughey.
"Sandy, Sandy, Sandy ..." McConaughey implored in a falsetto voice. The two were quickly met by Scarlett Johansson for discussion of upcoming projects.
-- Geoff Boucher
Photo: Nominee Annette Bening and husband Warren Beatty arrive at the 83rd Academy Awards on Feb. 27, 2011. Credit: Matt Sayles / Associated Press