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Report from the Luncheon, According to Feinberg

When the Oscar luncheon was livestreamed once we all got to see the contenders be introduced and hear the applause for the Academy. But they did it once, never again. Now you have to get a credential to go.  Feinberg writes the whole thing up thoroughly, in case you’re interested in the details. Of course, the crowd there isn’t really the same group who votes – I think I remember Annette Bening getting a huge round of applause for the Kids Are All Right because she is very popular but of course, Natalie Portman won the Oscar. Here is how Feinberg ran it down:

It’s dangerous to read too much into such things, but it struck me that best picture nominee Affleck, who was denied a best director Oscar nom but whose film has swept all of the major awards thus far, received only average applause, whereas the principal people associated with Lincoln, which received the most Oscar nominations this year but has not yet won any major awards, received louder-than-average welcomes, including best supporting actor nominee Tommy Lee Jones, best supporting actress nominee Sally Field, best adapted screenplay nominee Tony Kushner, best cinematography nominee Janusz Kaminski, best film editing nominee Michael Kahn and best costume design nominee Joanna Johnston. (Best actor nominee/frontrunner Daniel Day-Lewis was unable to attend the event.)

Others who received noticeably loud receptions: best supporting actress nominee Amy Adams (The Master), whose nom this year is her fourth in the last seven years; best picture — but not best director — nominee Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty); best supporting actor nominee Robert De Niro (Silver Linings Playbook); best original score composerAlexandre Desplat (Argo); and Life of Pi visual effects nominees; best supporting actress nominee Anne Hathaway (Les Miserables), who got a kiss from Jones as she passed him on her way up the bleachers; best cinematography nominee Seamus McGarvey (Anna Karenina); and best actress nominee Naomi Watts (The Impossible).

The most memorable of the many encounters that I witnessed during the afternoon was when Wallis’ mother brought the young actress, who had been chatting with her tablemate Spielberg (even though she has not yet seen E.T., she told me), over to meet Washington. He initially asked her, “What’s your name? Are you up for an Oscar?” She replied “Yes, best actress,” and he asked her for what. When she told him, he exclaimed, “Ohhhhhh! Your hair was all wild!” He asked her, “How’s all this been for you? Do you miss school?” She replied, “Not really,” prompting hearty laughter. And, after posing for some photos together, he said, “Well, very nice to meet you!”

Little Q was one of two African Americans there today, which prompted Denzel Washington to say during the press conference, “you see many people who look like me walking through the door?” Washington also said the industry, and Oscars, were particularly harsh on black women — and I have to agree, especially since they had the opportunity to nominate writer/director Ava DuVernay for Middle of Nowhere and passed.  Washington was asked this question vis a vis Django Unchained and Lincoln and he transformed that question into something positive, but added, “there’s always room for improvement.”