Born Winners and Oscar Losers

Traditionally, right after the Academy Awards, the entertainment magazines feature the big winners on their covers. But this year you would have had a better chance of finding Waldo on a weekly's cover than Daniel Day-Lewis, Marion Cotillard, Tilda Swinton or Javier Bardem. Actually, we've come to expect the weeklies to run post-Academy Awards covers, promising all the "Oscar Glitz, Glamour, Gowns and Gossip!" Not this year, the Academy Award's 80th anniversary. No, this year the only thing expected were those who were expecting - and a few stars who already gave birth.

In fact, you have to turn 63 pages in People magazine before uncovering an Oscar winner. And there, you will only find a goofy grimacing Javier Bardem clutching an Oscar at Prince's post-awards party. But then again, maybe it's better being hidden away than to be included on page 15 of OK!, for example, where winners Tilda Swinton, Marion Cottilard and Daniel Day-Lewis were in a fashion feature called, "What Were They Thinking?"

But what ever could have motivated two-time Oscar winner Daniel Day-Lewis to wear brown suede shoes with his tux thankfully wasn't that mag's main cover question. Like the other tabloids, OK! was baby-obsessed this week, and asked, across a cover shot of (the not nominated) Katie Holmes, "Is She Pregnant?"

Here's another question: Aren't the entertainment magazines supposed to know those answers instead of asking its readers to find out. According to OK!, "Katie's and Tom's reps deny Katie's pregnant." So then one more question? Why put her on the cover if she's not pregnant? (OK! argues its it piece that recently "Katie uncharacteristically wore loose-fitting dresses that seemed to reveal the hint of a bump to spectators." Oh, OK.)

The real reason for these types of covers is that bona fide American stars having babies - whether true or not - sell better than award-winning foreign film stars like Marion Cottilard (quick name three people who saw, "La Vie En Rose" - don't worry, I couldn't either.) Plus, this year's Oscars, considered to be a real snooze, was the least watched telecast ever.

Since babies are such a boom to magazines, virtually all of the weeklies found space on their covers to also include photos (from Film Independent's Spirit Awards) of Angelina Jolie and her pregnant belly, or as they say in entertainment magazine lingo, her "bump."

To be sure, on their covers, OK! unveils the "First pics of Angie's bump;" Star sounds a "Bump Alert;" In Touch notes "She finally shows off her bump;" People similarly reports "Angelina shows off baby bump;" and Us Weekly discusses her "debuting her bump."

But was that really enough babymania to move magazines off the newsstands after the Oscars? Apparently not because In Touch and Star also reserved cover real estate for Jennifer Lopez who recently welcomed her twin daughter and son. For In Touch, this blessed event was recorded as " J. Lo's Twins: The Most Expensive Birth Ever." And Star heralded the news with "J. Lo: Delivery Room Diva!" How about "Jen and Marc: Mazel Tov!"

Amazingly, there was still more baby news to ensure that the Oscars winners would be nowhere near the front of these magazines. People, for instance, ran with "Nicole's Baby Girl!" featuring an exclusive cover photo of Nicole Richie, smiling while holding her newborn daughter Harlow. (Understanding that celebrity babies equal sales, People has also reportedly plunked down a reported $5 million for the first shots of J. Lo's tots.)

This week, quite incredibly, Star and Life & Style employed the ultimate in magazine sales - the head spinning synergy of both baby news and Britney Spears! Star's "exclusive" cover story is "Adnan: Brit's Having My Baby!" Well, I read that story twice, which was two times too many, and not once did I find a single quote from Spears' boyfriend Adnan Ghalib, let alone him saying the singer is having his child. Equally confounding is the "exclusive" from Life & Style, which breathlessly reveals, "Britney Looks Pregnant." Looks pregnant? After too much pasta, I look pregnant! Of course, the tabloid then backs away from its exclusive cover story, quoting a so-called "Spears family insider," explaining, "It's probably just a little baby fat." I guess the "looks pregnant" angle works better than a cover line of "Britney's Belly Fat!" Almost too close to call.

Not leaving bad enough alone, trying to capitalize on the mere possibility of a star being pregnant, Life & Style also includes on its cover, "Kate Hudson: Another Baby?" Another question? Why not "Kate Hudson Looks Pregnant"? Correct me if I'm wrong, and it's been about 25 years since I took biology, but you either are or you aren't pregnant. While the weak weekly tried to drum up sales with the Kate question on its cover, inside on page 42, the magazine reports that Hudson's rep denies she's pregnant, and even quotes another impeccable Life & Style "insider" saying, "I don't think she's pregnant." Huh?

And while Life & Style was kind enough to acknowledge that there actually was an Academy Awards this year, promoting on its cover, "The Best Oscar Dresses" - though astoundingly they didn't feature a single frock on its front page - In Touch made no mention whatsoever on its cover of the most famous awards show. It was as if the Oscars never took place. Fortunately, both People and OK! found areas on their covers to notify readers about their Academy Awards info. OK! promised "What Really Happened at the Oscars!" while People layed claim to "All the Dresses, Hot Couples & Hookups!" And how did these two magazines illustrate their Oscar coverage? With photos - no, not of Javier, Tilda, Daniel or Marion (seriously, did anyone see "La Vie En Rose"?) but - of George Clooney!

Two things come to mind: One, why is George Clooney now the official representation of the Oscars? He didn't even win! And two, if those "Hot Couples & Hookups" pan out, as reported by People, we're going to have even more baby covers. Yipee!

So what have we learned? In the world of the entertainment magazines, you can be pregnant by just looking pregnant. When foreigners win Oscars it doesn't count. No matter who walks away with an Academy Award, George Clooney will still be pictured on the weeklies' covers. And since the show's telecast was more painful than childbirth, if the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wants to receive more entertainment magazine coverage, they better give that golden Oscar a nice sized "bump."

For the record, I had a perfectly lovely time at the Oscars, but that may be because I had an epidural.

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