George Clooney, Oscars 2006
Credit: Clooney & Mizrahi: ©AMPAS

Entertainment Weekly’s Josh Wolk offered his insights live from Los Angeles on E!’s red-carpet coverage (starring Ryan Seacrest and Isaac Mizrahi):

3:04 p.m. I’m in EW’s L.A. office, sitting down to watch theE! preshow. Instantly I see a documentary on how M. Night Shymalancrafted tonight’s new American Express commercial. I like to start theevening out with a blatant sell-out before the subtler pitches to comeby pairing presenters from an upcoming movie.

3:09 p.m. E!’s Giuliana DePandi talks to Jon Stewart. He says it will openwith tribal dance, and she responds, “You’re kidding?” Glad they got ashrewd comedy mind to cover this. She gives him a gift for hismonth-old baby that says “choking hazard” on it. That’s the kind ofshrewd attention to research that you see on the Gastineau Girls.

3:13 p.m. Ryan Seacrest talks to presenter Naomi Watts. He askswhether she’s gotten an invite to Nicole Kidman’s wedding, fishing aroundfor gossip, but she doesn’t bite. She does, on the other hand, talkabout how she came in a hybrid car. Ryan’s eyes glaze over. The onlyreason he would care about global warming would be if it makes NicoleKidman sweat more in her hypothetical wedding dress.

3:15 p.m. He also gives Watts three DVDs, including King Kong.These celebs are getting gift bags worth tens of thousands of dollars,and E! is tossing them their Netflix sloppy seconds? That’s whathappens when you spend all your money getting Seacrest: There’s nothingleft for Seacrest to suck up with.

3:21 p.m. Isaac Mizrahi talks to nominee Matt Dillon,thankfully keeping his hands to himself. But Matt’s interview isrelegated to the bottom one-sixth of the screen, to make room forred-carpet footage of Gary Busey. It’s a wise approach: Always devotethe bulk of the screen to the person more willing to snap.

addCredit(“Clooney & Mizrahi: ©AMPAS”)

3:23 p.m. An editor from Us magazine gives up gossip on Jenand Vince, and the status of Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe’s marriage.Ryan can’t process this hot talk, as his ears have filled up with bloodafter he hears that the Us dude has a ticket to the show, which Ryandoes not.

3:26 p.m. There are worse things than not having a ticket,though. If Melissa Rivers gets within 100 yards of the Kodak Theatre,guards have orders to shoot to kill.

3:31 p.m. Ryan talks to Tyson Beckford, who says he’s been”making movies.” And yet he’s dressed like he’s just been cleaning outhis garage. You gotta respect him for not even pretending he’s beenmaking anything that might get him invited to the ceremony.

3:35 p.m. Giuliana brags that for the first time, they have acamera stationed at Ripley’s Believe it or Not museum! You know what? Ibelieve it.

3:36 p.m. Giuliana says there are a lot of beautiful women onred carpet, but will be tough to top Keira Knightley. She still has anhour to go on this preshow, so there’s nowhere for the sucking up to gobut… up.

3:42 p.m. Isaac talks to George Clooney and Eric Bana, andgives no indication that he can tell when they are kidding. Or can’tthey tell when he’s kidding? Or can’t I tell that both of them arekidding?

3:44 p.m. Ryan refers to Heath Ledger and Michelle Williamsas “co-lovers.” Someone really needs to get out of Hollywood a littlemore often.

3:50 p.m. Ryan Seacrest says that Keira Knightley is “theperfect woman.” Unfortunately, she’s not in the booth with him, becauseyou can only imagine the DVDs he’d give her to prove his love.

3:53 p.m. Issac talks to Grant Heslov, who co-wrote Good Night, and Good Luckwith George Clooney, but Isaac dosen’t seem to grasp the idea ofco-writers. He keeps asking who wrote more of it, as if he can’timagine a world where a big celebrity didn’t do all the heavy lifting.

3:58 p.m. Ryan talks to the Us editor again, who gives the promised Reese and Ryan gossip: He predicts they will be here together tonight, and are not getting divorced in the limo on the way over. That’shis news? That nothing has changed? Stay tuned for the next half-hour,when he will reveal that Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher will not be getting back together.

3:59 p.m. Ryan narrates as Jessica Alba’s publicist appearsto tell her to put on more lip gloss. This is actually the kind ofcommentary I find fascinating: watching people be micromanaged. I don’twant to see them be fake; I want to see someone explain to them how tobe more fake.

4:02 p.m. Will Ferrell makes jokes to Isaac, and his wifelaughs like a woman who hears Will Ferrell make jokes all day long andwould just like a moment of quiet once in a while.

4:03 p.m. Paul Giamatti says that people used to mistake him for Rob Schneider. Never has one man come so far.

4:05 p.m. Ludacris bristles when Isaac calls his earrings “cute.” Thankfully, Isaac does not touch his chest, because you get the feeling it would not go over very well at all.

4:10 p.m. Isaac peppers Ang Lee with nonsensical questions:When is he flying back? How will he get Oscar home if he wins? Why didhe forget the obvious questions: What will he have for breakfast thenext day? Did he bring his own shoe trees? And does he like Twizzlers?

4:13 p.m. Ryan et. al. argue about whether or not SandraBullock is pregnant. That’s the new, subtle E! Back in the day, JoanRivers would have personally asked her to pee on a stick.

4:14 p.m. Ryan asks Isaac to take us all through what KeiraKnightley was wearing. Keira really should look into getting arestraining order from a certain American Idol host.

4:18 p.m. Ryan asks Jessica Alba about the lip glossincident, and she confirms that it was a lip emergency. He seemsthrilled to learn that his instincts were right, and makes me wonder ifhe is a hologram.

4:22 p.m. Oh no, nominee William Hurt is talking to Isaac. This can’t possibly go well.

4:26 p.m. Luckily, Isaac dosen’t really care about WilliamHurt nor finds him attractive, so he just lets him tell a longanecdote and we all get off without a horribly awkward incident.

4:27 p.m. Ryan and Giuliana muse on Nicole Kidman’s futurewith Keith Urban, and declare that they will inevitably get married…and he’s not even with her. If he were, they’d declare that they werealready grandparents together.

4:29 p.m. Felicity Huffman shows off her breastplate-bearing dress, no doubt anticipating the many catcalls of “show us your sternum!”

4:31 p.m. Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves are there together, which is sweet in a 1994 kind of way.