By Molly Lopez
April 04, 2005 12:00 PM

Kerry’s Sweet Reward

What a difference a year has made for Kerry Washington, who won critical acclaim for playing Jamie Foxx’s long-suffering wife in Ray. “Last year I went to the Vanity Fair [Oscar] party and [none of the photographers] knew who I was,” says the actress, 28, who recently joined the Creative Coalition, an arts advocacy group, to support public education. “I remember thinking, ‘Somebody, take my picture!’ But everyone was like, ‘Naomi Watts is coming—move!’ ” This year’s bash was a different story. “There were lollipops that had our pictures on them. Watching Rosario Dawson describe to my fiancé [actor David Moscow] how she was going to lick me—that was a highlight of the night.”

Un-Hip Ashton

After seven years on the hit FOX sitcom That ’70s Show, Ashton Kutcher has picked up a few lessons about the art of comedy. “The first trick is not to try to be funny,” says the actor, 27. “As soon as you’re trying, it’s not going to work. And I learned timing: It’s like a waltz—one two three, one two three, setup setup punch line, setup setup punch line.” But learning comic rhythm hasn’t translated to smoothness on an actual dance floor for Kutcher, who plays Bernie Mac’s future son-in-law in the comedy Guess Who.

“Bernie destroyed me in the dancing department,” says Kutcher. “I’m not very good. I do all right when it comes to line dancing, but as soon as I have to move my hips, it’s kind of an issue.”

Rhona Outsells Orlando

“I was so embarrassed, I must’ve been the color of beetroot,” says Boston Legal‘s Rhona Mitra, who was recently auctioned off for a date at a fund-raiser for the Peace Games, an organization which aims to keep violence out of schools. “I was like, ‘How humiliating, I’m going to get like five bucks.’ I’ve done theater and dealt with it fine, but [at the auction] I was really scared! I was like, ‘Please get me off the stage!’ ” Mitra, 29, needn’t have worried: She ended up fetching a nifty $10,000. “I was the top deal of the night,” she says. “Orlando Bloom [auctioned off] a walk around the set of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, and I beat him!”

Joan’s ‘Toon Triumph

Joan Cusack, currently starring as the mother of an aspiring figure skater in Disney’s Ice Princess, is a pretty accomplished skater herself. “My dad would flood the backyard every once in a while [when I was younger], so we’d skate around,” says the actress, 42, who grew up near Chicago with four siblings, including actor John Cusack. “I’ve put on ice skates in recent years because my sons play hockey.” So do Cusack’s 4-year-old and 7-year-old sons watch any of their mom’s flicks? “They like School of Rock. That’s a good boy movie. But when they were little, they liked that I was in the same movie as Buzz Lightyear. [Cusack voiced the character of Jessie in Toy Story 2]. That was a real coup.”