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Oscar Nominees En Masse

Oscar Nominees En Masse

There is
nothing quite like the annual Oscar nominees’ luncheon, which is held at the
Beverly Hilton Hotel. What was once a fairly intimate event drew 195 nominees
this year from all facets of the film industry. As their names are read, each
one steps onto a podium to take the celebratory “class photo,” where the theme
of the day comes to life: a visual effects supervisor is standing next to a
documentary short subject director who is right next to a major movie star.
These are the best and the brightest, on both sides of the camera.

Not
surprisingly, actors garner the most attention and most of those in the running
were there. Some of them work the press room and the post-luncheon interview
gauntlet by the hotel pool; others prefer to savor the occasion as an oasis in
the midst of award-season frenzy, and I admire that.

As always, the
telecast’s producers (Craig Zadon and Neil Meron) implore the nominees to
prepare an acceptance speech—and speak from the heart, not from a piece of paper.
This annual plea often falls on deaf ears, but we can still hope…

I feel very
lucky to attend this event, which never gets old. Here are some of my souvenir
snapshots, caught on the fly.

 
The first
person I said hello to in the Beverly Hilton lobby was Norman Lear, who proudly
explained that he was the guest of Laura Poitras, who made the compelling
documentary Citizenfour, about Edward
Snowden. Norman has been a notable citizen-activist for decades. They were kind
enough to pose for me with acting nominee Patricia Arquette.

 
Julianne Moore
still seems somewhat shocked that her “little” film Still Alice has earned her a Best Actress nomination…but a
performance that strong simply couldn’t be ignored, especially the members of
the Academy’s actors’ branch.

 

 

Marion
Cotillard didn’t think the Dardenne brothers would want to work with her, as
they rarely cast stars in their fly-on-the-wall dramas, but they made an
exception in her case, to everyone’s benefit. If you haven’t seen Two Days, One Night you’re missing one
of the best films by these gifted Belgian siblings, and a typically solid
performance by Cotillard.

 

Last year’s
nominee Bruce Dern was a proud papa as he accompanied his daughter Laura, a
Best Supporting Actress candidate this year for Wild. Bruce is currently
filming Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful
Eight
near Telluride, Colorado and told me they’ve been working in
near-zero degree weather.

 

Emma Stone
looked radiant, even though she just flew in from New York, where she is
completing her run in Cabaret on
Broadway. She has almost no voice left but still has two weeks to go in her
widely-praised performance as Sally Bowles.

 

Ellar Coltrane
stopped by the table where I was seated to say hello to his onscreen mother
from Boyhood, Patricia Arquette. I
just happened to snap this photo as the title of his film flashed on the screen
behind him.

Neil Patrick
Harris, who is hosting this year’s Oscarcast, got laughs from the crowd as he
promised that the show would be hilarious, and produced a spinning device from
his pocket to hypnotize everyone in the crowd. They may not be as relaxed or
receptive on the night of the Awards, but he’s clearly a charismatic choice to
host the event.

 

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