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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.”

26 Comments on this Post

  1. Reading that makes me so sad that Hugh Jackman won’t win an Oscar this year.

    Were there any similar reports on applause during the King’s Speech-Social Network year?

  2. Antoinette

    The woman who asked Denzel the question was trying to get him to connect Django and President Obama and him being nominated or some crap. I wasn’t quite sure what she said but she was going for some kind of answer that would have him speak as a representative of black people. At least it seemed so to me anyway, and she wouldn’t let it drop so then that’s when he responded with what you’ve quoted. I’d love to be able to read her question as it was difficult to make out what exactly she was getting at.

    It was fun in the past to be able to see them being called up one by one like a graduation ceremony.

  3. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    It sounded to me like she was trying to get him to do a Spike Lee to rag on Django for its treatment of the black characters, etc. Denzel is pure class. You can’t trip him up.

  4. Profile photo of Sasha Stone

    Were there any similar reports on applause during the King’s Speech-Social Network year?

    Well if you’re a popular person you tend to get applause – and who is more popular than Hugh? The dude’s electric. Plus he hosted the Oscars – they all know him. I thought the cutest thing was Joaquin Phoenix being there.

  5. Sasha,
    Who attends these events? Is it possible that the Argo campaign-as-pity party has worn thin and the real favorites are emerging?
    Or am I reading too much into this report? And wishful thinking. Has reason entered the race?

  6. SeattleMoviegoer

    i wasn’t invited but if i was there, i’d applaud and make a few “woop woop” sounds for Naomi Watts. just caught THE IMPOSSIBLE tonite. and we’re all anticipating a win for Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain because…???…

  7. Viola Davis also got the loudest applause last year, i’m not sure it means much. Sadly.

  8. “Viola Davis also got the loudest applause last year, i’m not sure it means much. Sadly.”

    – Very true. I recall that quite clearly.

  9. Lincoln has the most nominations, so there were more people in the room associated with Lincoln than with any other film. I wouldn’t read too much into that applaus-thing.

  10. If we judge by the applause, supporting actress is up to Sally Field and Anne Hathaway. We knew that. Annette Bening – being a veteran – got a loud ovation in 2011 and lost.

    If we judge by the applause, it’s Tommy Lee Jones’s to lose. Of course De Niro gets a loud applause. It’s a comeback. He has two Oscars, they know that, but it’s his first nomination in decades.

    Kaminski and Kahn are well-known and respected. But the odd thing is: the only person from LINCOLN obviously “snubbed” is Spielberg.

    The thing is: How does ARGO lose?
    Find a film (a SINGLE film!) that won the Golden Globe (drama), the PGA Award, the DGA Award, the SAG (cast) Award, the Critics’ Choice Award and lost picture! I can’t think of such a film. Apollo 13 won DGA, SAG, PGA and that’s it. No Globe win. The Color Purple had the DGA and the NBR and a Globe for Goldberg. Even Brokeback Mountain – and it’s a special case – lost the SAG Award and it lost the Cinema Editors Guild – an award I believe ARGO will win.

    BTW am I the only one who reads too much into David O. Russell being EVERYWHERE and being so nice and supportive? He went out of his way to hug Ben Affleck when he won the Critics’ Choice. He was so eager to congratulate Tarantino when he won the Globe! Harvey probably understands that director could be anyone’s Oscar and with such fierce competition in screenplay, he needs the win to make case for picture. I hope it doesn’t happen.

  11. LOL
    Is this applause thing measured correctly? Do we have numbers in db?

  12. Denzel is such a hyprocrite…according to Pete Hammond Denzel didn’t even know who Quvenzhane Wallis was…which means he hasn’t seen/heard of Beasts…which would mean the same for Middle of Nowhere…

    I’m sorry but you can’t comment “you see many people who look like me walking through the door” while not having heard of Wallis and seen one of the most important films of the year….

  13. I’m sorry but you can’t comment “you see many people who look like me walking through the door” while not having heard of Wallis and seen one of the most important films of the year

    It has nothing to do with whether or not he’s seen the film. It has to do with the state of the industry – an industry which, by and large, wanted fuck all to do with Beasts of the Southern Wild: ineligible for SAG and WGA, snubbed by the majority of the guilds, the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs.

    Clapometer scores are always unreliable.

  14. Denzel knew Beasts. He noted Lil Q’s hair was “all wild” in the movie. He was just letting her speak for herself.

  15. If I saw Wallis, I wouldn’t even be able to pretend I didn’t know who she is. I’d be screaming, “Hushpuppy!” and I’m not even a fan. OT but thinking about whether Denzel saw the movie made me remember that all 9 Best Picture nominees won something at the BFCA (and Amour wasn’t even up for Picture among their 10 nominees). 8 of them — all but Beasts — won a Golden Globe. 4 won a SAG. They are all represented in BAFTA’s nominations. Given how screwed up this year feels, there’s been remarkable consistency in the top nominated films and no Blind Sides or Extremely Louds. (I guess that’s an every-other-year phenomenon. We should be relieved Sandra Bullock didn’t make a movie this year!)

  16. Oh I think Denzel knew who she was, he just had to be reminded. I don’t think he’s all about Hollywood business. He always struck me as someone who is a normal dad and goes home and watches football when he’s not working. Meaning he leaves his work at work. At least that’s how he always seemed to me.

  17. the other mike

    hollywoods treatment o black women is horrible. but does anyone care? nah. its paid lip service thrnwe move on. black women should forget about hollywood altogether. they hate black women there. then we get into colorism within the black community, and its ust one big mess. i think where black women can really thrive is independent cinema.

  18. Denzel has a college-aged daughter who is trying to break into show business so he has brought up the topic of how hard the industry is on Black women a lot. At the THR Oscar Roundtable he said he told his daughter she has to work twice as hard as a White guy and harder still because she is also a darker-skinned Black than say Halle Berry or Kerry Washington, something I’m sure Viola Davis can attest to. Hollywood favors the dark chocolate skin color in leading men but prefers caramel or lighter skin in the leading ladies/ love interests.

  19. Of course he knew who Wallis was. He was just doing that thing that adults do to boast up kid’s self-esteem by treating them like an adult. He was letting her shine in their interaction by pretending he didn’t know who she was so she could talk about her accomplishment. I remember my uncle doing similar when asking about my grades after my Mom would have already called the entire family to tell them about me being on the Principal’s honor roll.

  20. The industry is hard on women, in general, IMO!

  21. Pierre de Plume

    I too have wondered why Beasts was disqualified from SAG and other guilds prizes. It doesn’t feel consistent.

    It’s a union thing, Bette. SAG has certain requirements for independent productions, and Beasts didn’t meet their criteria.

  22. acmilan03c1

    OK then, Zooey, look at it this way: there are, in total, three such cases (a movie winning Globes drama, BFCA and the three major guilds); there’s also Chicago, but that one, of course, won musical/comedy, not drama, at the Globes. So, going by your definition, there is a total of 3 cases (American Beauty, The Return of the King, Slumdog Millionaire), all of which won Best Picture. A bit of a small sample size, wouldn’t you agree? Argo hasn’t won yet so it doesn’t count. My bet is it won’t win, either.
    There’s a stat in there somewhere, but you’re going to have to come up with a better starting hypothesis. Also, you’re missing the real point: ALL of those (Chicago included) had a Best Director nomination, all were nominated for loads of Oscars (I don’t even need to check to make sure that most of them led in nominations), not a measly 7, and none had ANY vital nominations missing (in addition to Best Director, they had Editing and Screenplay nominations as well).
    Now, ask yourself this: how is it that the ONLY movie that’s ever swept the PGA, DGA and SAG Ensemble awards that didn’t have one of those nominations (oh, look at that… why, it’s precisely Best Director…) is also the ONLY one of them that DIDN’T win Best Picture? Is THAT irrelevant too? Or is it just the far too low number of nominations and the far too low number of Oscars Argo is a favorite (or even has reasonable chances) to win?

  23. “So, when I read this about Wallis, I wonder. Still, at least he saw the film, he just didn’t recognize her without the wild hair (though how could he not? though perhaps this is consistent with his Tony awards demeanor?).”
    ^^Q WALLIS WAS FIVE YEARS OLD WHEN SHE MADE THE MOVIE. She’s 9 now and has changed quite a LOT. As for Denzel — he was in a roundtable discussion and said he was independently wealthy. He probably has a LOT of issues about how blacks and others are passed over for awards and roles. I don’t think he gives a f**ck these days and feels he can say whatever he wants.

  24. SallyinChicago

    Denzel has a college-aged daughter who is trying to break into show business so he has brought up the topic of how hard the industry is on Black women a lot. At the THR Oscar Roundtable he said he told his daughter she has to work twice as hard as a White guy and harder still because she is also a darker-skinned Black than say Halle Berry or Kerry Washington, something I’m sure Viola Davis can attest to. Hollywood favors the dark chocolate skin color in leading men but prefers caramel or lighter skin in the leading ladies/ love interests.
    ^^ Yes, I remember that roundtable. His son is a producer too. Denzel is in a very comfortable place in his life, he’s been around for 30 some years, so he’s seen this industry inside out.

  25. “i wasn’t invited but if i was there, i’d applaud and make a few “woop woop” sounds for Naomi Watts. just caught THE IMPOSSIBLE tonite. and we’re all anticipating a win for Jennifer Lawrence or Jessica Chastain because…???…”

    @SeattleMoviegoer

    Watts deserves to win for The Impossible hands down but I understand the buzz for Chastain… What puzzles me is Lawrence’s…

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