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Popcorn & Prejudice: A Movie Blog

Seattle Times writer Moira Macdonald muses on moviegoing. Email Moira: mmacdonald@seattletimes.com.

February 8, 2011 at 11:16 AM

The Oscar nominees do lunch

I just got off the phone with costume designer extraordinaire Jenny Beavan, who’s nominated this year for “The King’s Speech” and who’s best known for designing most of the Merchant-Ivory films (winning an Oscar for “A Room with a View,” with John Bright). Though I’m talking to her for a feature story to run later this month, I couldn’t resist asking about the Oscar nominees luncheon, which took place yesterday and which was the reason for her presence on the West Coast (she’s normally based in London). Though this is her ninth nomination, Beavan said she’d never attended the luncheon before and that it was “good fun,” particularly since she got to meet Jesse Eisenberg who was “so fantastic in ‘The Social Network.'” The luncheon is “brilliant,” she says, because everyone wears name tags — “he wouldn’t have a clue who I was” otherwise — and it’s a relaxed, casual event, with “everyone on the same footing.”
On hand were every acting nominee (except Christian Bale, who was shooting a movie) and a good contingent from every other category — 147 out of 191 nominees showed up and smiled for a group photo (Jeff Bridges in the center, with Annette Bening perched on his knee). The nominees, each of whom received an official gray Academy Awards sweatshirt (I can’t really picture Nicole Kidman wearing such a thing, but it’s a lovely detail anyway), were given the usual warnings about acceptance speeches: 45 seconds, no more. (The Academy is so serious about this, apparently, that the nominees were all given practice DVDs to take home, with the official 45-second graphic on it.) Everyone, from all reports, seemed to have a splendid time. Here’s an Academy-supplied photo of all the Best Actress nominees, wearing their ladies-who-lunch best:

(from left; Natalie Portman, Michelle Williams, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicole Kidman and Annette Bening; photo copyright A.M.P.A.S.)
And in other Oscar news: Been wondering what this year’s weird new innovation for the Oscar show might be? Wonder no more: Show producers Don Mischer and Bruce Cohen announced at the luncheon that this year’s telecast will include special tweets from the nominees’ mothers about their Oscar-hopeful kids. That might be kind of sweet, actually.

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