Barack Obama, Sean Penn

ABC/Donna Svennevik; Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for VH1

Backstage at the Oscars, I apparently started something when I asked Milk's Best Original Screenplay winner, Dustin Lance Black, if he felt President Obama should reverse his stand against gay marriage.

"Absolutely," Black (who was raised a Mormon, interestingly enough) exclaimed to me.

A reporter later also asked Sean Penn my same query about the president's unfortunate stand on gay unions. Penn, brow-wrinkled, replied that he hoped Obama's anti-gay-marriage stance was a "political" one, and not one from the heart, and that he, too, felt the 44th prez should reconsider his intolerant position.

This was such a personality change for Penn!

Last time he was backstage with his Oscar (for Mystic River), Robin's naughty hubby was chewing ice from his cocktail tumbler the whole time, ranting away! Not so 2009: Penn, circumspect, meant business with his serious words to the president. Besides, he got smart this time: He had his publicist hold his cocktail glass for him offstage, out of camera range.

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