The Oscar nominees celebrate a year like no other ahead of the ceremony

Luncheon of the 94th Oscar nominees in Los Angeles
Actors Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz attend the 94th Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon on March 7, 2022 in Los Angeles, California, USA. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

March 8, 2022

By Lisa Richwine

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Will Smith, Kristen Stewart and other Academy Award nominees gathered on Monday to celebrate at the annual Oscar nominees luncheon, one of the film industry’s largest gatherings since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Hollywood awards circus restricted.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Jessica Chastain, Steven Spielberg and Bradley Cooper also joined the crowd in a packed ballroom at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles. Stars mingled with sound engineers, costume designers and other behind-the-scenes workers in the battle for this year’s Oscars, which will be presented in a live ceremony on March 27.

“This is a year like no other,” said Will Packer, producer of this year’s Oscar show. “If ever there is a time to be grateful for and enjoy an occasion that allows us to be in the same room, ladies and gentlemen, this is the year.”

In 2021, the nominees’ luncheon was canceled and the Academy Awards were held before a small audience at a downtown Los Angeles train station.

This year, organizers are planning a big audience at the Dolby Theater, the show’s longtime home in Hollywood.

Dark Western The Power of the Dog leads the contenders with 12 nominations, followed by sci-fi epic Dune.

At lunch on Monday, Packer gave the nominees advice on how to deliver a memorable acceptance speech. He urged them to be brief and skip the tradition of thanking agents, managers, or other representatives.

“Honestly, the audience doesn’t care,” Packer said. “Do you know what interests you? They care about you, your journey, your passion… talk about it.”

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)

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Dais Johnston

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