Oscar Nominees Hobnob Three Weeks Ahead Of Hollywood’s Big Night

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lupita nyongoReuters/Reuters – Actress Lupita Nyong’o arrives at the 86th Academy Awards nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills, California

BEVERLY HILLS, California (Reuters) – This year’s Oscar nominees gathered for the ultimate Hollywood power lunch on Monday in a celebration of the old adage “it’s an honour just to be nominated” three weeks before the film industry’s biggest night.

The annual Oscars nominees luncheon convened more than 200 contenders pursuing an Academy Award on March 2 – from 18-time nominee Meryl Streep for best actress in “August: Osage County” to Lupita Nyong’o, who won a best supporting actress nod for her first film role ever in “12 Years a Slave.”

The wonderful  group of movie stars, directors and technical wizards , who lined up for the “class picture” thanks to his best song nomination for “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.”

Academy members begin voting on Friday, Monday’s luncheon was a chance to turn on the charm by praising the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the magic of Hollywood filmmaking.

Matthew McConaughey, the presumed frontrunner for best actor for his role as an unlikely AIDS activist in the low-budget “Dallas Buyers Club,” for which he won the Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards.

“This is my first time nominated and if I ever get nominated again, who knows,” he added. “But there will never be another first time, so I’m going to enjoy this.”

Cate Blanchett, the favourite to win best actress for her role as a disgraced socialite in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine,” said this nomination “certainly took me by surprise.”

“You’re part unconscious when you’re working deeply, but it’s always a thrill, particularly because I’ve been away from the film industry for so long,” Blanchett said.

This year’s Oscars nominations reflect a field crowded with high-quality films At the luncheon, many attendees lamented that Tom Hanks was not there for his acclaimed role in the Somali piracy thriller “Captain Phillips.”

For the nine films nominated in the best picture category, odds appear to be strongest for the brutal slavery drama “12 Years a Slave,” space thriller “Gravity” and 1970s corruption caper “American Hustle,” which have all won top prizes in the awards season and lead the Oscar nominations.

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