Two Floors Below Winslet

When you live in an Oscar winner's building, you need to do something nice to congratulate them.

02.23.09 11:13 AM ET

Producer Larry Mark and director Bill Condon may not have been nominated for a Best Picture Oscar for Dreamgirls but they didn’t hold that against the Academy, for they did a remarkable job of reviving the show. There was, however, one glaring exception: that awful Hollywood musical number with Hugh Jackman (otherwise a first-rate host) and Dreamgirls star, Beyonce.

It was a mess. Badly staged. Badly directed. Where was Debbie Allen when you needed her?

And where, in fact, was Eartha Kitt during the dead-people montage?

I liked the faux intimacy of the David Rockwell set but not the faux youth of Sophia Loren and Goldie Hawn. Loren looked like Miss Kitty in a film version of Gunsmoke shot by Sergio Leone. When Hawn came into view when presenting the Best Supporting Actress award, a voice from the crowd where I was partying shouted, “I see my Halloween costume.” But then all the guests quieted to listen to Penelope Cruz, my favorite winner of the night.

We all applauded loudly for Kate Winslet. She and her family live two floors up in the Chelsea building where the party was going on. It’s nice when a neighbor wins an Oscar. My godson and I wrote a note of congratulations and slipped it under her door.

My favorite speeches were delivered by Lance Black and Sean Penn. I’m gay. I cried.

Click here for the rest of our Oscar wraps.

Kevin Sessums is the author of the New York Times bestseller Mississippi Sissy, a memoir of his childhood. He was executive editor of Andy Warhol's Interview magazine and a contributing editor of Vanity Fair and Allure. He is a contributing editor of Parade. His new memoir, I Left It on Mountiain will be published by St. Martins Press next year.