Would you tell us about that dress -- again?

Times Staff Writer

AS she started her march down the media-lined carpet at the 32nd annual People’s Choice Awards at the Shrine Auditorium on Tuesday evening, Cobie Smulders, star of TV’s “How I Met Your Mother,” looked radiant in an aqua gown.

A publicist guided her to the first TV camera crew, where she was asked about her dress. She explained that she had hurt her ankle and thus needed a floor-length dress to hide the injury. She found this one and thought, “This feels great.” Next reporter, same question. Smulders tweaked her answer a bit, adding: “The most important thing is how it looks and feels on you. I like curvy.” She was then asked about her hair.

Answering the same questions again and again, Smulders gamely soldiered on as she made her way through the gantlet. But as she did so, her energy, her smile, ebbed just a bit at the edges. Several additional media outlets later, she posed for the still photographers, who, en masse, began barking: “Cobie, Up Here! TO THE RIGHT!! THE RIGHT!!!” as a lightning storm of flashes exploded.


By the end, Smulders seemed to have had enough. Smile almost extinguished, she skipped the print reporters and went inside. Behind her, a line of celebrities waited their turn. What follows are other glimpses from behind-the-scenes:

Look surprised

Since the winners are informed in advance, the arrival of certain guests pretty much gives away much of the awards show excitement -- one of the raps against the People’s Choice Awards. As George Lucas filed in, for example, the fate of the night’s big award seemed clear, and indeed it was: “Star Wars: Episode III Revenge of the Sith” was the night’s big winner.

Talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres and TV star Jennifer Garner took home honors, as did Johnny Depp, Sandra Bullock and Brad Pitt. TV favorites included “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation,” “American Idol,” “My Name Is Earl” and “Prison Break.” (The nominations were determined by editors at Entertainment Weekly, the People’s Choice production team and a panel of pop culture fans. Winners were determined by Internet voting. For a full list of honorees, go to

What’s the holdup?

Throughout the show, the scene backstage seemed an inch away from turning into a riot. Celebs were whisked down the corridors by 15-person-plus entourages that created huge pileups when celeb gangs collided. Apparatchiks swirled and fumed as Ray Romano and DeGeneres paused to chat.

You shouldn’t have

Gift bags for celebrity presenters included a BlackBerry, a sequined T-shirt, a $10,000 Gevril watch, designer jeans, a portable DVD player and a VIP family Disneyland vacation (with guides to take them to the front of the lines, of course).


Back in the auditorium, another sort of pandemonium had broken out. In the rear wing, Jason Lee and his “Earl” costar Ethan Suplee were waiting to be escorted back to their seats. Inches away, a section of teenagers shrieked and waved camera phones at them. Suplee ignored them, typing into a BlackBerry, while Lee stared ahead, looking as if he was trying to stay in character.


Romano walked by, veered over and put his hand out to Lee. “Hey, great show. It’s the only thing to watch on TV,” he said.

Lee took his hand and nodded, appearing to give Romano a minimal kind of “thanks” and barely looking him in the eye.