2023 Oscar Nominees Luncheon: Best Actor Guys, Slap Sorry
As the Oscars try to get back to where they were before the pandemic, Academy leaders are promising a better show and nominees are rushing to greet each other.
While this year’s Academy Awards are finally back on schedule, with the 2023 Nominees Luncheon returning to the Beverly Hilton after a pre-pandemic hiatus, certain changes still abound.
Janet Yang, newly elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, congratulated this year’s 182 nominees in her welcome speech, saying, “I feel it is important to seize this rare opportunity while we are here together. to address some of the Academy’s recent challenges. Last year, as everyone remembers, we experienced an unprecedented event at the Oscars. What happened on stage was unacceptable, and the organization’s response was inadequate.”
Yang continued: “What we have learned from this is that the Academy must be fully transparent and accountable in our actions, and in particular insist that we act swiftly, compassionately and decisively for ourselves and our industry, and expect no less from us. ahead.”
Although his speech received applause, some guests later privately admitted that they had no idea Yang was referring to the infamous slapping incident when Best Actor winner Will Smith stormed the stage to punch host Chris Rock over a joke he made with his wife Jada Pinkett . Smith’s cost.
When she returned to the podium to introduce producer and governor-general Devon Franklin, who impeccably convened all the nominees for the annual class photo, Yang received the biggest round of applause when she said, “We’ve worked really hard to have all the awards presented live this year on the show- n.” It’s a big relief for the short film nominees in attendance, who last year were among the categories that went to the pre-recorded ceremony, shown in clips during the televised telecast of the 94th Academy Awards.
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Upon hearing each name, the game is always “Who gets the most applause?” The answer: “Everything everywhere at once.” Best Supporting Actress nominee Jamie Lee Curtis was the very first name called the insurgents, Best Actress Michelle Yeoh and even producer Jonathan Wang, the room held the most energy for the filmmakers behind A24’s multiverse dramedy, an unexpected front runner.
Still, the applause gave little indication of who exactly was the favorite among the Oscar voters in attendance, but Best Actor nominees Colin Farrell (“The Banshees of Inisherin”) and Austin Butler (“Elvis”) both received lively responses when called stage. Meanwhile, attendees received a standing ovation simply because they came to the event as a surprise: artist Nan Goldin, who was competing for best documentary with “All the Beauty and the Bloodshed” and “Top Gun: Maverick.” producer/star Tom Cruise.
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The actor didn’t attend the awards due to several upcoming projects, such as two new “Mission: Impossible” sequels, so when he entered the hotel’s international ballroom, he barely managed to get a few feet in front of the front-runner for Best Supporting Actor. Ke Huy Quan (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) and Best Supporting Actress Angela Bassett (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) stopped by to say hello and take pictures.
Filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, nominated for Best Animated Feature for “Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio,” decided to go straight to the tables instead of crushing it in the main mingling area. He first spoke with “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” director Ryan Coogler, who is nominated this year for co-writing “Lift Me Up” for best original song, but was trailed by fellow animated film nominee Domee Shi (“Turning Red”).
Although some candidates had to rush out as soon as the camera stopped clicking the class photo, many stuck by the stage and continued their conversation with the surrounding colleagues. Best Supporting Actress Stephanie Hsu (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) greeted best animated short nominee Pamela Ribon (“My Year of Dicks”), who in turn suggested that their two films complement each other well. Hsu, who is just under five feet tall, also admitted to talking to Best Supporting Actor nominee Brian Tyree Henry (“Causeway”), who was standing next to him on the top floor, about the possibility of needing a push when the photographer was ready to make the picture.
Diane Warren, who is also on top and coincidentally paired with Top Gun: Maverick producer Jerry Bruckheimer, said she reminded the mogul that she would be working with him again on the Coyote Ugly sequel.
Ultimately, the event had an air of camaraderie that was very palpable. After a private conversation in the corner with Best Actor nominee Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”), Butler shared that most of the awards season events are focused on his film, so it’s nice to be in a place where he can talk to people from other nominated projects. For example, he just had a quick chat with Best Adapted Screenplay nominee Kazuo Ishiguro (“Live”), where he told the Nobel laureate how one of his podcast interviews influenced him. Butler also noted that he had a nice moment with Farrell on the carpet, which coincided with The Banshees of Inisherin star being seen exiting the bathroom, and excitedly asked event staff where he could find his fellow Irishman and Best Actor nominee Paul Mescal. (“Aftersun”).
A few weeks after the nominations were so focused on horse racing and what pranks and surprises happened — best actress nominees Ana de Armas (“Blonde”) and Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”) were notably absent — this year’s nominees luncheon was a reminder that the Academy Awards are there for all artists to celebrate each other, even if only a select few end up with a statue on March 12.
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