The Oscar Nominees Luncheon is always full of good vibes, a definite highlight of the season, especially since everyone in attendance has made it this far, all Oscar nominees and managing to mingle not only with other nominees but also with the large number of voters. of Academy. in hand. Considering there are less than two weeks until final voting begins, it's also an opportunity for some to pressure AMPAS members to check out their film. “I hope that if you’ve seen my film, you’ll want to vote for it,” one prominent executive told an Academy member. “And if you’re not going to see it, vote for it anyway,” they added.

And why not?

Greta Gerwig and Diane Warren

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I took a photo of 15-time nominee and bridesmaid (although she has an honorary Oscar), Diane Warren, nominated this year for “The Fire Inside,” talking to Barbie Greta Gerwig and telling the film's writer/director that she has two Best Song nominations for Billie Eilish and Finneas O'Connell's “What I Was Made For” and the Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt man anthem “I'm Just Ken,” which she knows she has to lose to someone and has two chances to do so with Barbie. “You never know, they might cancel each other out,” she laughed at me. It's all fun and camaraderie at this event, which is why everyone is so happy to be there.

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Flower Moon Assassins Best Actress nominee Lily Gladstone told me that the best thing about the lunch, her first, is that everyone seems to really like each other's films, noting that it's a really good year for movies. She was one of the surnames called for the annual class photo and said she found it hard to believe that she would be sitting right in the front, between Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese, something she could not have imagined before. Very cool.

Janet Yang

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Academy President Janet Yang opened proceedings with some remarks before lunch, but also shortly afterward, when she told the crowd at the Beverly Hilton Ballroom (not only were we here less than 48 hours ago for the DGA Awards?) that she had something very important to tell them. Yang went on to remind them that the Oscars show would start an hour earlier this year at 4pm PT/7pm ET. By this, the public was clearly shaken, apparently missing the Academy's previous press release about this change. And she went on to tell them that it was also the first day of Daylight Savings Time, so please remember 'Spring Forward'. “We think it will be worth losing that extra hour of sleep, don’t you?”

Well, yes, of course. It's the OSCAR, but the booms and shockwaves could be felt throughout the room. It was almost as if she had just announced that Pope Francis had agreed to host the Oscars Red Carpet pre-show. Speaking of which, AMPAS CEO Bill Kramer said they think an official half-hour pre-parade at 3:30 p.m. PT is more than enough, especially since other outlets are available with longer coverage if you want them. , from the red carpet fashion show. The real reason for this move to an hour earlier is the ratings are always dragged down on the East Coast, where the grand prizes are always after 11pm ET, sometimes hitting midnight, so this is a bold move, but I think it's a smart one. so that everything ends at a reasonable time.

Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone

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He's excited about how the show is developing, he told me, highlighting new producers Raj Kapoor and Katy Mullan, among others. He also confirmed that all five nominated songs will be performed on the show, along with a few other surprises. He didn't say if Ryan Gosling would lead the “I'm Just Ken” number, but trust me, he will. Ronson has been hounding him to do this long before the nominations were even released. I don't see a world where he doesn't do that, despite his coy responses in recent interviews. In fact, there was also a mini La La Terra meeting when the two 2024 nominees, Emma Stone and Gosling, nominated at the time in 2017 (Stone even won), were seen talking on the floor.

I don't play the game of trying to say which actors received the most applause when their name was called to appear in the class photo, but I can say unequivocally that Messi, the border collier who plays Snoop so memorably in the Best Picture nominee, Anatomy of a fall stole all the attention at the pre-reception and lunch, a true selfie draw if there ever was one. I couldn't resist asking the dog's PR team to take my photo with him. I've been pushing this dog for a Best Supporting Actor nomination ever since I saw the film at Cannes and watched his near-death scene foaming at the mouth from an aspirin overdose. It was impressive and won him the Palme Dog, the first time a Cannes film had won the Palme d'Or. It is the Palme Dog. Gosling was among those who met him, concerned that he appeared passed out on the floor at one point. The fact is that Messi is so calm that he can get some sleep, even with all the Oscar nominees passing by him.

Mark Ronson with Messi, the border collie from “Anatomy of a Fall”

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Ronson was among the nominees trying to take a selfie with Messi, who may be the most memorable dog in the Best Picture race since Mike, the terrier who played Uggie in The artist , Winner of Best Picture in 2011. That year, the studio invited Mike/Uggie to every event imaginable. It worked. This was a very good piece of NEON that you purchased Anatomy in Cannes with NEON boss Tom Quinn telling me that one of his selling points was that he could practically guarantee Anatomy would have a very good chance of winning Best International Film (which could have been the first to win for the country since 1992). Indochina),only to see France fail to enter (they chose The flavor of things instead of). He is very happy to have received five nominations, including Best Picture, and also won two Golden Globes. I detect a lot of buzz about the film among the members I talk to who have seen it, and Quinn is also thrilled that his other film, Wm. Wender's Perfect Days which was the entry of Japan he did get an International Film nomination.

Grace Linn, the ABC of book burning, Pete Hammond/Deadline

By the way, based on casual conversations, many members still have a very preview before receiving their votes on the 22nd (scheduled for February 27th). One film they might want to watch after lunch today is the Visual Effects nominee and surprise hit, Godzilla minus one whose effects team brought Godzilla figures along with them to the event. There were also some elderly people featured in the Best Documentary Short Film nominees seen in the crowd, including the 101-year-old activist in the fantastic MTV film The ABCs of Book Burning and Nai Nai, 96, and Wai Po, 85, the title stars of Sean Wang's charming Disney+ film,Nai Nai and night water Overall, it was a very star-studded crowd, with most of the actors and other nominees receiving high praise from others.

96th Academy Awards Luncheon Oscar Nominee Christopher Nolan

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Christopher Nolan, whose Oppenheimer it came about because the current favorite had a table closer to the stage and the giant Oscar statues that adorned it. Robert Downey Jr. was also present. He was the last name to be called for the group photo. At reception he told me “I’m sitting at table number one”.

Is this an omen? Scorsese's desk was right next to his.

When I arrived I also received some news. I ran into the Academy's Directors Branch Governor, Jason Reitman, who was speaking with another Producers Governor, Jason Blum, and when asked if published reports were true that he was taking control of the iconic and historic Fox Village Westwood Theater ( currently managed by Regency), he confirmed.

“Today I officially became an owner,” he said, noting that the Board of Directors he helped form to take over the theater, which hosts at least 50 film premieres a year, will be announced on Wednesday. And he says he already has a display to manage it and has lots of ideas to really revitalize it. He was worried (as was I) about the fate of the theater (even though it is considered a historic landmark in Los Angeles) and promised that he would never have to worry about leaving again. It's the theater where I saw my first film, the Disney one. The Lady and the Tramp, the first animated feature presented in CinemaScope as announced at the time. Thanks, Jason and I can't wait to see your plans.

We hope the 96th Academy Awards are as fun as the Oscar nominees luncheon was today.

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