The Oscars are often called the Super Bowl for women.
But with a Goodyear blimp hovering above, commentators in a skybox reviewing all the action below and an overabundance of glitz and glamour, the show is more like the World Series, Wimbledon and a Vegas fight all in one.
"You can hear the roar from the crowds," E! television host Ryan Seacrest said after an interview with Gwyneth Paltrow, who confessed that she was nervous about singing later in the evening.
"I hope I don't completely mess it up," said the actress, wearing a golden Calvin Klein gown.
"You'll crush it," Seacrest assured her.
E! commentator Giuliana Rancic said actress Sharon Stone was already "crushing a lot of the 20-year-olds," in her full-length black gown adorned with black feathers on one shoulder.
There were exceptions, of course. Jennifer Lawrence, the 20-year-old best actress nominee for "Winter's Bone," set the bar for the evening's fashion competition in a simple red sleeveless Calvin Klein gown, according to Rancic.
Melissa Leo, the winner of best supporting actress for her role in "The Fighter," told Seacrest her dress was so heavy she "needed a crane to put it on."
The Oscar-winner was one of the early losers of the fashion contest, however. Leo earned less than kind remarks from the self-proclaimed fashion police about her off-white lace gown with a metallic-colored fabric underneath.
"It's definitely a strong-looking dress," E! commentator Kelly Osbourne said.
A lot of work went into the evening's outfits. The actresses were likely plucked and buffed to look flawless in their dresses.
And discussing the physique of the actresses was as acceptable as speculating about the state of Tom Brady's knee.
"This is unbelievable, that she's even here on the red carpet tonight," Rancic said of Salma Hayek, who recently had a baby and was wearing a tight-fitting, red-sequined sleeveless gown.
The wildest speculation of the night whirled around Oscar nominee Natalie Portman and how her baby bump would impact her fashion game. Very little, it would turn out, as the 29-year-old "Black Swan" star arrived shortly before the awards began in a purple gown with off-the-shoulder sleeves and Tiffany jewelry.
But, like the Olympics, at this level, just getting into the arena is an honor itself.
"Bottom line, Oscar night, everyone is a winner," Rancic said.
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