Out on the Town

The Hollywood Film Festival Gala was crammed with celebrities, and mostly they were talking off-the-cuff. Brad Pitt made fun of Casey Affleck’s award for “male breakout star,” by listing a decade long list of Casey’s films (so much for Casey’s “breaking out” this year!). Ben Affeck had a heartbreaker speech. He won for best director, and shared a sweet, personal sentiment. He reflected that the last time Ben and Casey were on stage together accepting trophies, they’d won a little league tournament back in Boston. At that time, Ben (catcher) was 12 and Casey (shortstop) was 9. They never guessed they would win twin trophies again, much less at this level of professional acclaim.

Will Ferrell was a scream, Catherine Zeta Jones delivered a robotic Stepford Wife-like speech as she presented the award for musicals, and John Travolta is still gorgeous, and humble as he won a supporting actor award for getting into drag and playing a middle-aged woman in Hairspray. Janet Jackson looked fit and Kristie Ally looked large – but she has great arms.

Sorry for dishing, it’s what happens when you go Hollywood, even for a night. The awards were held where the Golden Globes are done, so kudos to the Hollywood Film Festival planners and the Beverly Hilton for giving us such a great program and a delicious dinner. Mary Hart from Entertainment Tonight (www.etonline.com) was endlessly energetic, proving she holds up way past her usual half-hour on television. Personal thanks to Chris Davies of Zinidoo and other cutting edge ventures, for being our host. Chris has a remarkable vision for bringing a festival to Los Angeles that knits together our diverse population – I can’t wait.

The most amazing surprise was spending serious one-on-one time with Cris Judd (www.imdb.com/name/nm1085698/) and really getting to know him. He’s handsome, earnest, smart and has a great story about the choices he’s made in his career and his life. I spent the better part of the after party with him and I can only say, this guy is the real deal.

Who have you met lately – and how have they impressed you?

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