At Oscar Nominees' Luncheon: Glamorous, Stunning and Gluten-Free Meals

LOS ANGELES — On Monday morning, as Daniel Ojari was leaving the house to go to a luncheon for this year’s Oscar nominees, his 4-year-ol...


LOS ANGELES — On Monday morning, as Daniel Ojari was leaving the house to go to a luncheon for this year’s Oscar nominees, his 4-year-old son surprised him with a handwritten card.

“Good luck at the Oscars,” he said.

Ojari, who is nominated for his animated short “Robin Robin,” broke into a big smile. Then he flipped the card over and saw it wasn’t addressed to him but to Lin-Manuel Miranda, nominated for Best Original Song for the Animated Musical “Encanto.”

“Can you give it to Lin-Manuel?” asked his son.

The same goes for the annual Oscar nominees luncheon, the kind of event where sound mixers rub shoulders with superstars. Held this year at the Fairmont Century Plaza Hotel and restricted to nominees and their guests only, the luncheon is usually a jolly affair as everyone dresses up and no one loses.

For Jonathan Fawkner, who was nominated three times for the Oscar for visual effects and is in the running again this year for “No time to die”, the highlight of lunch tends to be the “class photo”, or nominees of the year are called one by one on stage to pose in a large egalitarian group.

“The best thing is that in one breath they could say ‘Clint Eastwood’ and everyone claps, then ‘Jonathan Fawkner’ – eh? — but everyone is still clapping,” Fawkner said. “It’s brilliant!”

This year, everything went a little differently. Although attendees had to be tested for Covid-19 within 48 hours of the event, the class photo was still divided into small, socially distanced groups of around a dozen nominees each, which would later be digitally combined into one traditional picture.

But during the hours of chatter leading up to the photo, no digital trickery was necessary.

Guests were only too happy to hug each other at one of the first big awards season events to be held in person since the Omicron variant scuttled the winter campaign. an enthusiast Will Smith, considered the favorite for best actor for “King Richard,” gave high fives to Jessica Chastain and Maggie Gyllenhaal, while the nominated supporting actor Troy Kotsur (“CODA”) shook hands with Denzel Washington and punched “Summer of Soul” director Questlove.

Elsewhere in the ballroom, Steven Spielberg dined on gluten-free chickpea panisse at a star-studded table that included Kotsur’s “CODA” co-star Emilia Jones, as well as Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem, one of the two married couples to earn equivalent Oscar nominations this year. . (The other couple, “Power of the Dog” co-stars Kirsten Dunst and Jesse Plemons, had to skip lunch due to filming commitments.) And at the table next to mine, the nominee from Best Actress Kristen Stewart and fiancée Dylan Meyer chatted with Finneas O’Connell, who was nominated for co-writing the title track to “No Time to Die” with his singer sister, Billie Eilish.

Will Packer, the producer of this year’s Oscars broadcast, took to the stage to encourage potential winners to keep their acceptance speeches short, although he made no mention of the academy’s controversial plan to Shorten them even further: In less than three hours, eight awards will be handed out in the hour before the Oscars telecast, then woven into a highlights reel airing later in the show.

Former Oscar winners like Spielberg and Guillermo del Toro have spoken out against the plan, prompting Oscar-winning sound engineer Tom Fleischman to resign from his academy membership last week. Some nominees talked about boycotting the show, but even those who attended the luncheon had a lot to say about it.

“I’m angry and disappointed,” said Joe Walker, who is nominated this year for editing “Dune.” His race is one of eight that will be presented before the show. “I think it’s a mistake,” he said.

“I think a lot, a lot of people who are in the academy, in other branches, don’t understand what editing is,” said Walker guest Mary Sweeney, who edited the films. Lost Highway” and “Mulholland Drive”.

Although the academy is shortening the show in an attempt to appeal to younger viewers, Sweeney and Walker suggested that the TikTok and YouTube generation might be more familiar with the edit than you might think.

“Interest in publishing is growing all over the world,” Walker said. “I mean, the most inspiring haircut I’ve seen in the last year was in a TikTok!”

Given that most of the best-known Oscar nominees will still be walking the red carpet when these eight categories are announced on March 27, Monday’s lunch provided perhaps the only real opportunity this season for some of the guests of honor at meet famous names. . Fortunately, when Ojari entered the event, the very first person he saw was Miranda, his son’s idol.

He approached to explain the note, and Miranda encouraged Ojari to keep it himself, as a keepsake. But Ojari knew his son would want him to complete the mission. When I spoke to him toward the end of lunch, he was scanning the room for Miranda, note in hand.

“I still have to try to put it in his top pocket,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: At Oscar Nominees' Luncheon: Glamorous, Stunning and Gluten-Free Meals
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