83rd Academy Awards® Nominees Luncheon

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Record number of nominees enjoy annual Oscar event.

Record number of nominees enjoy annual Oscar® event.

For thirty years Oscar® nominees have enjoyed the annual Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton, in the heart of Beverly Hills. The 2010 nominees were no exception; in fact, they turned out in record numbers on Monday, February 7:  147 nominees were present, along with their guests. 

Its stage adorned with large Oscar® statues, the International Ballroom was the comfortable venue for an eventful day that began with the first guests arriving at 11:30 a.m. Nominees entered the room to find an enthusiastic cadre of photographers and video crews waiting to capture their smiles and waves as Academy President Tom Sherak greeted each and every one.   In an adjoining room, an army of journalists awaited its opportunity to pose a few questions to some of the year’s honorees.

Nineteen of the 20 nominees in acting categories attended the luncheon and all 19 took a few questions from the press.  Highlights, in order of appearance in the press room, were:

  • Third-time nominee and past Supporting Actor winner Javier Bardem, who answered questions in both English and Spanish, explained that “the honor is different” this time as he is the first Best Actor nominee in a completely Spanish-language role.
  • Second-time nominee Jeremy Renner said he was still “wide-eyed” at the process and wanted to “enjoy every ten minutes that goes by.”
  • First-time nominee Jennifer Lawrence said she “cried at Sundance because I thought five or six people would see [my film].  It’s surpassed my wildest expectations.”
  • First-time nominee Jesse Eisenberg  described the event this way: “It’s a room full of insecure actors, which I find really comforting.”
  • Second-time nominee Melissa Leo said “It’s been a delight running into the other nominees.  I want to enjoy each moment as it appears in front of me.”
  • First-time nominee Mark Ruffalo indicated that he enjoyed his role because he “got to be funny, touching…  everything I like as an actor.”
  • Third-time nominee and previous Best Actor winner Geoffrey Rush joked about the Queen renting all of the films about the British monarchy.
  • Second-time nominee Colin Firth said of his encounters with the public, “I do get the odd bow, which I put down to confusion or facetiousness.”
  • First-time nominee Jackie Weaver admitted “I thought it was the twilight of my career, and now it’s the mid-afternoon of it instead… I’ll be playing Americans soon now, and I can’t wait.”
  • Second-time nominee Helena Bonham Carter  claimed “When they first approached me,  I wanted to play George.   I didn’t look in the mirror and think, ‘God, I’m a ringer for the Queen Mother.’”
  • Third-time nominee Amy Adams told reporters that when she met Charlene Fleming, the real person she portrays in “The Fighter,” Fleming advised her to steer away from wearing her (Fleming’s) signature fishnet stockings.  But Adams was directed to do so anyway.
  • Fourth-time nominee Annette Bening noted “If you can open people’s hearts, maybe minds can get opened next… Our country has a big tent, and we can let everybody in.”
  • First-time nominee John Hawkes cited his low profile as an advantage for his status as a character actor and said of Oscar season that he was “blown away by the whole thing.”
  • Second-time nominee Michelle Williams spoke about making peace with her high heels and her bond with costar Ryan Gosling.
  • Third-time nominee and previous Best Actress winner Nicole Kidman praised her fellow Australian nominees and discussed the difficulty in getting “Rabbit Hole” to the screen.
  • First-time nominee Hailee Steinfeld admitted that she previously enjoyed watching the Oscars for its red carpet glamour, and praised her “incredible” film and its cast.
  • Sixth-time nominee and previous Best Actor winner Jeff Bridges shared  his mother’s advice:“Remember, have fun and don’t take it too seriously.”
  • First-time nominee James Franco teased his upcoming appearance as Oscar ceremony co-host with Anne Hathaway as “A little of the old, a little of the new.”
  • Second-time nominee Natalie Portman observed “There's something very internal and true about dance as a mode of expression, and this character finding her artistic voice was something I was really interested by, where men are the directors and women are the stars in a very controlled way.”

Seating at the luncheon was organized in a very democratic way, with nominees from the various categories and films all mixed together. An Academy governor or past president “hosted” each table.  Attendees also included five of the nominees for Best Director (Darren Aronofsky, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Tom Hooper, and David O. Russell), as well as president and CEO of the Walt Disney Company, Robert Iger, and president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, Anne Sweeney. Seven of the Academy’s past presidents were in attendance including Gene Allen, Sid Ganis, Arthur Hiller, Richard Kahn, Walter Mirisch, Frank Pierson, and Robert Rehme.

Between the salad and main course, nominees were summoned to the front of the room to pose together for this year’s traditional “class photo,” after which each individual was called in alphabetical order to receive his or her official nomination certificate – plus a hoodie with an Oscar and the word “Nominee” embroidered on it.

The event concluded with remarks by this year’s Academy Awards® show producers Bruce Cohen and Don Mischer, who offered tips on giving an effective acceptance speech and unveiled a new look to the countdown clock that indicates to winners how much time is left for their on-stage remarks.  A video tutorial by Academy governor and two-time Oscar-winner Tom Hanks about acceptance speech etiquette also was screened to further emphasize the importance of “planned spontaneity.”

Academy Awards® for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center®, and televised live on the ABC Television Network.  The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.


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