Hollywood stays chipper despite recent past

Hollywood was determined to stay chipper on Oscar night, no matter how gray the skies and how turbulent the recent past.

“Michael Clayton” writer-director Tony Gilroy, who starts shooting “Duplicity” in two weeks, insisted, “Everyone has an appetite to forget. This is a really easy town for forgetting.”

NBC prexy Jeff Zucker reiterated that feeling, saying, “I think everybody was ready for a party, and to enjoy the chance to come and to have a grand time.”

But some hangovers of the recent work stoppage remained. Actor nominee George Clooney — whose appearance on the red carpet nearly caused a riot among the assembled fans — repeated his strong wish that the Screen Actors Guild help the rank and file in his union stay employed by starting talks as soon as possible. “There’s no resolution yet,” he said. “We’re talking to all parties. We’re hoping to avoid a strike.”

Sumner Redstone summed up the night’s feelings, saying, “The industry is facing a lot of issues, and facing them successfully,” he said. “We have plenty to celebrate.”

“The Savages”‘ nominated screenwriter Tamara Jenkins succinctly summed up the Oscar ritual: “it’s a crazy gorgeous pageant, unique to our world.”

“There Will Be Blood” writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson was fine with the red carpet madness, he said. “It’s easy. They don’t know me. They have their eye on the big ones.”

His star Daniel Day-Lewis, was more frazzled by being the presumptive best actor favorite. “I feel like a British rail sandwich,” he said. “They like surprises at the Oscars. I might become yesterday’s sandwich.”

Several actors were squeezing in the Oscar ceremony between shooting days. Helen Mirren, resplendent in red was shooting “The Love Ranch” with husband Taylor Hackford in New Mexico had to return to work at 8 a.m. Saoirse Ronan, wearing green in support of the Emerald Isle, had to fly back Monday night to the Wellington, New Zealand, set of Peter Jackson’s “The Lovely Bones.” “I would like to come back to the Oscars every year, if I was invited.”

Philip Seymour Hoffman, in the midst of directing a play in New York, was still recovering from his Saturday wrestling bout with Spirit Awards host Rainn Wilson. “He was so much fun, I feel very loose,” he said.

James McAvoy also preferred his second visit to the Oscars. “It was hard last time,” he said. “This time I can go along with it. It is more enjoyable with Emily,” he said, hugging his wife.

(Timothy M. Gray contributed to this report.)

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