BEHIND THE SCENES
Before arriving at L.A.’s Shrine Auditorium Feb. 5, Nicollette Sheridan had losing on her mind. “I ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes because I’m on a mission,” she said. “In another two weeks, I’ll have shed this 10 lbs. I have packed on.”…Meanwhile, Jennifer Garner left her dress decision to gut instinct. “I was like, ‘If I wake up and feel skinny, I’ll wear it,’ ” said Garner, who indeed decided to don her Alberta Ferretti gown…. Debra Messing squelched her preshow nerves with help from 10-month-old son Roman. “I listened to my son’s lullabies when I was getting my makeup done,” she said. “It really did calm me down.”…Four months pregnant with her second child, Denise Richards had to ditch her Monique Lhuillier at the last minute and pulled a basic black gown out of her closet: “This is the only thing I could fit into.”…Cynthia Nixon walked the red carpet with Kristin Davis but met up inside with Christine Marinoni, the New York City education activist she has been dating for a year
Backstage, James Garner gave reporters a scare when he seemed to be in serious pain after knocking his Life Achievement Award over with his left foot. Just a prank from an old pro: “Come on, I’m an actor!” he said, laughing…. Latecomer Leonardo DiCaprio sneaked in during the first commercial break, claiming his chair from a seat filler…. After reuniting with Sex and the City mates Nixon and Sarah Jessica Parker (Kim Cattrall was doing a play in London), Davis told Aisha Tyler at the bathroom mirror, “It is so good to see the girls again!”…. Food fight! Throughout the ceremony, James Gandolfini pelted his Sopranos cast members with bread. “That’s what he does every year,” said Drea de Matteo. “That is what relieves the tension.”…During a ceremony break, Desperate Housewives‘ Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman kept warm on the smoking patio by huddling together under Huffman’s turquoise shawl, giggling happily.
At the afterparty, hosted by PEOPLE and the Entertainment Industry Foundation, Eva Longoria was tight-lipped about her Companion, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker. “He’s not my date; he’s a friend of mine,” said Longoria (who was spotted with her other frequent escort, singer J.C. Chasez, as recently as Jan. 31 in Mexico). But later, Parker said that they were an item, adding, “I just want to say, I’m lucky.”…The evening’s winners, including Hilary Swank, clad in vintage Atelier Versace, posed at PEOPLE’S photo booth. When photographer Michael Lawson asked Cate Blanchett for a “fake laugh,” she said, “Fake laugh? I’m really happy!”…Relaxing at a booth, Sideways’s Virginia Madsen was straightforward about how she picked her Pamella Roland gown: “It was the dress that fit my breasts the best! I thought it would be easier because there’s so many fake ones in this town, but most dresses are made for 12-year-olds.”…Ray Romano took his loss in stride. “I didn’t want to win, to be honest,” said Romano, who explained that after filming Everybody Loves Raymond‘s “emotional” series finale the previous week, he had no time to write a speech. “I’m a comic. If I don’t have a funny speech prepared, I would rather not go up there.”…Here’s one case the CSI crew can’t solve: Who swiped castmate Jorja Fox’s statuette at the afterparty? Police are investigating the theft…Louis Azzaro-clad Teri Hatcher was still euphoric from her encounter with fellow winner Blanchett. “She actually said hello to me first!” said Hatcher, who won for both female actor and ensemble in a comedy series. “That was a moment I won’t forget.”…She didn’t get an Actor, but Allison Janney still considered the night a success. “I got to meet Cloris Leachman, and I spilled a glass of champagne on Steve Buscemi,” she said. “We’re having a wonderful time. I so want to have more drinks!”
Jason Lynch. Michael Fleeman, Chris Gardner, Marisa Laudadio, Kwala Mandel, Monica Rizzo and Brenda Rodriguez in L.A.