Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, and Spike Lee were among the big-name attendees at the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon on Monday, where this year’s hopefuls mingled and celebrated as they inch closer to Feb. 24’s Academy Awards.
More than 200 Oscar-nominated filmmakers and actors gathered at the event to catch up, eat, and drink champagne over a laid-back lunch. Cooper and Lee were seen chatting, and Cooper also hung out with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige and Disney chief Bob Iger. The Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse filmmakers mingled with the BlacKkKlansman team, and Chris Miller and Phil Lord huddled with the team behind Free Solo, which they excitedly praised as a feat of filmmaking.
Bohemian Rhapsody star Rami Malek was the darling of the event, unable to walk a foot without being stopped and congratulated, but he took a moment to chat with Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki, of the Oscar-nominated Capernaum. Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant, costars in Can You Ever Forgive Me?, took a moment to catch up, while a crowd formed around Lady Gaga, clad in a white gown, as she she sat alongside Feige at the luncheon.
John Bailey, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, paid tribute to the largest group of female nominees in Oscar history.
“Gender parity is an industry matter, not just an Academy matter,” Bailey told the gathered crowd as they sat down to eat. “In front of and behind the camera, inclusion, diversity, racial, ethnic, and gender equality are not just buzzwords. They get to the heart of what our Academy is doing, our ongoing initiative that by 2020, all 17 branches are dedicated to a truer representation of who we are in our movie scripts, casts, and in our shooting an post-production sets.”
The producers of this year’s Oscars ceremony, Glenn Weiss and Donna Gigliotti, took the stage at the Oscars lunch to deliver some instructions to the nominees in case they win: Winners will have exactly 90 seconds to get from their seat to the stage and give their acceptance speech, in order to keep the live televised show running at a tighter three hours this year. The Academy also announced its first round of Oscar presenters Monday, including Daniel Craig, Jennifer Lopez, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, and Tessa Thompson.
Laura Dern, who introduced each nominee by name as they assembled for the annual nominees photo (see it full-size here), prefaced the introductions by saying, “Here, now, in a time marked by great fragmentation, noise, and unrest, we have the opportunity to join together as a single community and shape a coherent narrative, a narrative that gives voice to those without a voice, that honors the experience and the dreams of not just the few but the many.”