Oscar nominees loosen up at annual luncheon
05:00 AM, Feb 04, 2013
BEVERLY HILLS Some Oscar events are just more fun than others.
Just ask supporting-actress Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who seemed a little distracted answering questions backstage at the annual Oscar nominee lunch Monday.
“Sorry, you just interrupted my flirting with Bradley Cooper and Christoph Waltz,” Adams said. “I’d say it’s going to be a very good lunch for me.”
Adams, a nominee for her role in The Master, captured the spirit of the event, which honored more than 160 nominees at the Beverly Hilton Hotel ballroom ahead of the Academy Awards Feb. 24.
The string of awards shows before the Oscars might be intense, and often tiring, but the luncheon simply recognizes each nominee for being nominated.
“I know I wasn’t here for The Hangover,” Silver Linings Playbook actor nominee Cooper said backstage. “I’m enjoying every minute of this.”
Fellow nominees such as Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Lawrence, Quvenzhané Wallis, Naomi Watts, Hugh Jackman, Joaquin Phoenix and Denzel Washington attended, along with a full cast of supporting-actor nominees Robert De Niro, Tommy Lee Jones, Waltz, Adams, Sally Field, Anne Hathaway, Helen Hunt and Jacki Weaver
Four of the five best directors attended: Ang Lee, David O. Russell, Steven Spielberg and Benh Zeitlin.
For the female nominees who were there, Monday’s event was a reminder to start cementing Oscar gown choices.
Hathaway, who is nominated for Les Misérables, admitted her mind has been elsewhere: “No preparation yet. I need to get on that, don’t I? It was the Super Bowl. I couldn’t think about dresses with all that delicious fried food.”
Inside the ballroom, nominees were scattered randomly, so supporting-actor nominee Jones (Lincoln) was able to talk about wild hogs and shotguns with legendary stuntman (and academy special honoree) Hal Needham.
The event featured the annual class photo, for which all the nominees were called individually (starting with Lincoln producer Kathleen Kennedy and ending with Lincoln director Spielberg) to the front. Jackman gallantly helped a high-heeled Chastain on to the three-tiered rider, while director Tim Burton giggled with Adams.
Phoenix seemed in a chipper mood, hugging Ben Affleck around the waist as he ascended the rider and whispering conspiratorially to Field.
The place of honor during the photo was saved for 9-year-old Wallis. Wearing a purple David Meister dress, the star of Beasts of the Southern Wild gave a high-five to academy President Howard Koch and took a seat at the foot of the giant Oscar statue in the middle of the picture.
There was one order of business at the event: Oscar producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron made an appeal to each of the nominees for poignant and short speeches.
“We honestly need your help,” Zadan said, pointing out that each winner would be allowed a 45-second speech before the music starts.
“We ask you to please speak from the heart,” Zadan said. “Not from a piece of paper. This will be watched by over a billion people in over 225 countries. We ask you to prepare. The viewers are watching hoping you inspire them.”