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The Brits have brought us the Mini, Top Shop, and proper pints — but in Hollywood, their greatest contribution has been their talent. The stars came out Friday evening to honor their homeland’s 21 Oscar nominees at a pre-Oscar party hosted by British Consul-General Dame Barbara Hay at the British Consulate’s residence in Los Angeles.

U.K.-born acting nominees Kenneth Branagh, Janet McTeer, and Gary Oldman were all in attendance (along with Canadian nominee Christopher Plummer — yep, he is Canadian — Google it!), as well as behind-the-scenes talent including Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close director Stephen Daldry and The Iron Lady makeup artist Mark Coulier. And since no British event is complete without cucumber finger sandwiches and Victoria Beckham, those were on hand as well.

Branagh, who is nominated for his role in My Week With Marilyn, revealed his plan for powering through Oscar day to EW. “I bring a few bananas with me. You need that hit of potassium [on the red carpet],” he said. But Oscar day is always “surreal,” he said. “You see colors a little more brightly.”

Gary Oldman is an old pro at walking red carpets, but as a first-time Oscar nominee, Sunday will be different. “I’m very excited,” he said. “I’m not nervous. I’ve had a great ride and I’m looking forward to it.”

Oldman worked with some younger talent on his nominated film, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and joked when asked what advice he gave co-stars Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy. “I smack ’em,” Oldman quipped. “No, they don’t need anything from me. They are wonderful. It was a wonderful thing, a harmonic thing — right place, right part, right cast, right director.”

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