Oscar winner Halle Berry saved the Emmy weekend.
I will tell you how. Much as we love our TV stars, they don't always pack the same punch as movie stars.
As Ellen DeGeneres put it last night in her monologue: "We'd all love to have an Oscar. Boy, I'd like to host that show!"
In other words: There's only so many times you can ask Ray Romano if he'll miss "Everybody Loves Raymond." (The answer, if you couldn't guess, is "yes.")
So there was Berry, just being beautiful, at Entertainment Weekly's over-the-top, swell party on Saturday night at the Cabana Club.
She came with her manager, Vincent Cirrincione, and his wife, no publicist, mostly because Revlon was a sponsor, and sat in a booth with a minimum of overt security.
Over the course of a couple of hours, she greeted Glenn Close, Frankie Muniz from "Malcolm in the Middle," Fran Drescher and a variety of famous guests. She was completely accessible.
At the HBO party last night, there she was again, again with Cirrincione, dynamo publicist Karen Samfilippo and a few friends.
She was, however, without a date.
So what's the story, I asked, baiting her a little bit?
"I'm done with men," she said, laughing a little ruefully. "I'm going to be alone. I have no luck with relationships. I don't think I'm made for marriage."
Berry starts shooting "Perfect Stranger" in January with Bruce Willis, but don't expect anything to happen there besides work.
"He had his chance," she joked. "He was living next door to me for a while in Malibu. But he's gone now."
More importantly: Halle will be developing and producing her own projects from now on, instead of taking big commercial projects — like "Catwoman" — that do her career no good.
She has good instincts, too: her "Dorothy Dandridge" HBO movie was a huge critical success and launched this chapter of her hot career; she produced HBO's award-winning film "Lackawanna Blues" and was nominated for an Emmy for her role in "Their Eyes Were Watching God.
Emmy night backstage brought lots of revelations about favorite TV shows, upcoming plots and explanations for some of the more cryptic acceptance speeches.
But the most interesting clue of the evening came from Matthew Fox, who perhaps could see that I had to know something about what the characters on "Lost" — now the winner for best drama — will see when they open that hatch on Wednesday.
"What's in there?" I asked.
"The better question is 'Who's in there?'" he replied.
Later, Naveen Andrews — who was accompanied by his longtime love, famed actress Barbara Hershey — was surprised that Fox had said so much. Then he let it slip that maybe whoever was down there was not dead, but alive. Or, as you know with "Lost," it could be both.
Not exactly secrets to change the world, but a little something from a show where you're just hoping the writers actually have a plan and aren't playing it by ear.
Just so we're clear that not everyone on "Lost" spilled the beans last night, Terry O'Quinn refused to say anything on the subject at all.
Instead we discussed his 1987 tour de force film "The Stepfather," in which he plays a maniacal new husband and father on a murder spree. It's a classic.
But back to Fox, who was kind of a recluse about doing publicity on "Party of Five."
Now he's on the cover of Entertainment Weekly's fall preview issue. Last night, he made the party scene at the Governor's Ball following the Emmy telecast and later went to HBO's splendiferous gala at the Pacific Design Center.
Not content to just play Jack, the hero doctor on "Lost," he's looking for a movie he can shoot between April and July 2006.
"I want a big studio film about a wronged man," he said. "I'm ready. We're already talking about several things. But it has to be right."
An action hero has been born.
The big story of the night of course was Felicity Huffman snatching the Emmy for best actress in a comedy from Teri Hatcher .
We thought Hatcher had it. Everyone thought she had it.
At the Governor's Ball, I told Hatcher, joking: "I lost money on you."
"I'm sorry!" she said. "A lot of people said that. I can't pay you back."
And then she added: "But Felicity deserved it." She was very clear about it.
Hatcher — contrary to anything you might hear — was not upset at all. She spent most of the Governor's Ball telling friends about a recent trip to London.
Sadly, for a gossip columnist, she was not vicious or backbiting. She was, however, extremely and noticeably thin.
What's going to happen next on "Desperate Housewives"?
All I know is this week, Hatcher shoots a scene with Marc Moses, who is still on the show as Paul Young, the disturbed widower of the show's original raison d'être, suicide victim Mary Alice/Angela. The scene has to do with pumpkin pie.
I also ran into Steven Culp, the now-dead husband of Marcia Cross on the show.
Culp scored big-time reviews playing Bobby Kennedy in "Thirteen Days" against Kevin Costner, and was probably the best actor on "Housewives."
He's already gone back to movies and has plenty of work, but he did concede that he would have preferred to stay with the show.
"I wanted to stay, that's for sure," he said. "My career always seems to take me back to TV."
In case you missed it, he's had a recurring role on "The West Wing."
As for "Housewives," don't expect to see him back there anytime soon. There have been no plans to film flashbacks or ghost scenes. His character, Rex, is dead, dead, dead.
And then there's Huffman. She won, I think, in one of the Emmy voters' rare cogent moments.
She gave one of the most gracious, articulate and memorable acceptance speeches in some time, citing not only Oscar-nominated husband William H. Macy, but also playwrights David Mamet (whose work she appeared in for years before doing TV) and Aaron Sorkin, who wrote and produced her earlier series, the cult hit "Sports Night" (which co-starred Peter Krause from "Six Feet Under" and Josh Charles).
Huffman is generally thought to be on the short list this year for an Academy Award nomination for best actress (along with Dame Judi Dench, Keira Knightley, Charlize Theron and Gywneth Paltrow). The movie in question is called "Transamerica," in which Huffman plays a transsexual.
The advance buzz is huge, which means that come January, she could be a Golden Globe nominee in both film and television — without even having to feed or gift the voters!
"From your lips to God's ear," she said when we discussed the looming Oscar situation. And no one is more behind it than Macy.
"We've got to make it happen," he said proudly.
And finally, what of Eva Longoria? Well, I would have talked to her, but she brushed me aside like an annoying fly at the Governor's Ball.
Even in heels, she seemed like she was a little less than 5 feet tall, which gives support to the theory that successful TV actors have to be able to fit in the average-sized box.
She was very busy escorting around a gal pal who'd broken her ankle, and making authoritative plans with a group of friends to go to the TV Guide party, which I'm sure was nice but was considered kind of the least of the events to be seen at following the Governor's Ball.
(The People magazine-hosted soiree at the Mondrian, in conjunction with "Entertainment Tonight," was the hotter ticket, eclipsed only by HBO's megawatt gala.)
We never saw her again.
Entertainment Weekly's aforementioned pre-Emmy party was on a par with Vanity Fair's annual Oscar outing: lots of stars, great food and a good vibe.
Particularly nice to meet: the very gracious Ellen Pompeo and my old pal Patrick Dempsey, from "Grey's Anatomy."
Dempsey — who said he's 40 but looks 30 — told me he's taking the series' success with a grain of salt.
"I've been working since I'm 17. All I want now is to retire to my farm in Maine with my wife and daughter. That's the plan."
Plot spoiler for this season: his character sees a lot of action, and not necessarily with Pompeo's character. And there will be a lot more of New York's best stage actress, Kate Burton, as Pompeo's surgeon mother. ...
Also at EW: Lance Barber, the actor who played the unctuous, duplicitous and hateful scriptwriter Paulie G on HBO's "The Comeback." I told him everyone who watched the show hated him, and that he made viewers' skin crawl.
"Thank you! Everyone says that. I guess I'm doing my job."
He must be, because he turned out to be a fun fellow and not at all like the loathsome Paulie G. ...
Elisabeth Röhm, former "Law and Order" star and new convert for the Hollywood Hills, looking fantastic. ...
Favorite folks at EW: "Fantastic Four" star Ioan Gruffudd, girlfriend (British actress) Alice Evans and "Nip/Tuck" star Joely Richardson.
Trivia: the two women played essentially the same part in the live action "101 Dalmatians" movies — Richardson in the first, Evans in the second.
"Not the same part!" they protested. But you know what I mean.
Big obvious news: two more "Fantastic Four" movies are on the way. Gruffudd is just finishing a satire about the TV business called "The TV Set" directed by Jake Kasdan (son of "Big Chill" director Lawrence Kasdan) and co-starring Sigourney Weaver and David Duchovny. How completely appropriate!. ...
Tomorrow night's big event in Hollywood: Premiere magazine's annual Women in Film dinner. Charlize Theron and Laura Linney are two of the honorees. A hot, hot ticket!