Call it an epidemic. With the rise in airport muddles, and travel travails, it’s become the customary thing, I’ve noticed, to kvetch—at length, and often to mere acquaintances—about one’s aisle-or-window woes.

The history of dinner seating, like the history of art, yo-yoes between moments of brilliance and periods of stagnation, and the politics of place cards is a tricky business.

Now that the 86th Academy Awards have been left in the bin of history, and all that’s left are the sore tushes engendered from over-sitting at the Dolby Theatre, and the delivery bills racked up for the bijoux lent to starlets, it’s time to take a moment to consider some of the lessons from this year’s Oscar night.

There’s no place like Oscar. When the orchestra swoops on Sunday night—the flutes and French horns acting as a paean for all those careers on the line, and all those dreams set to make or break—the evening’s proceedings will eventually settle in on a plucky young woman in a blue gingham dress.

Has it really been already a year since Jack Nicholson made Jennifer Lawrence’s acquaintance for the first time, going so far as to do the one thing even more brazen than photo-bombing—interview-bombing?

Wolfgang Puck, the man charged with putting out the plates at the Governors Ball, is going with a “Greatest Hits” theme this year. The year 2014, after all, marks a big milestone for him: it’s his 20th year feeding the Oscarati at the gala following the giant show.

Can playing hard to get ever really be an effective strategy in the road to Oscar? As awards season slides into its penultimate phase, it’s always fascinating to see who has been anything but coy on the circuit, and who has been nothing but elusive.

No matter who leaves with a statuette on Oscar night, and however the headlines are written the morning after, on March 3, one thing’s for certain: Micaela Erlanger leaves a winner.

She’s 80 years old, and one of the hardest-working people on the Oscar circuit: Philomena Lee, a.k.a. “the real Philomena”, as they’re calling her now everywhere from Dublin to Malibu.

It’s been nearly century since a certain rich kid—initially dismissed as a dilettante adrift on a ferris-wheel of too many options—made a foray into movies and proved them wrong. Fast-forward to today, and we have an heiress in the house indeed.

With the tray of snubs handed out in Oscar-town this week—the Redford no-go, the Oprah shut-out, the Hanks for nothing—the nominations also conferred a unique pickle on one Amy Adams. It may be her fifth nomination in less than eight years, but it’s also conceivable that it could be her fifth loss in less than eight years.

The year 2014 was barely ripe when I found myself in a desert paradise where the vibe of the Rat Pack still flows, and where every year, in January, the movie awards season revs again with a gala.