The annual academy luncheon drew a record crowd — 151 out of a possible 190 nominees — to the Beverly Hilton on Monday. The only acting contender unable to attend was supporting frontrunner Christian Bale (“The Fighter”) who was committed to filming in China.
This marks the 30th year that the Oscar contenders have gathered together to celebrate their success, receive their nomination certificates, pose for a class photo and hear a pep talk from the telecast producers.
This year’s theme is “You’re invited” and the plan is to cast co-hosts James Franco and Anne Hathaway as the eyes of the audience. When Franco, a Best Actor nominee for “127 Hours,” was asked about emceeing, he said, “A lot will be about bringing in a fresh crop of viewers, but one of the backbones of the show is to appreciate the history of film.”
The winners will have just 45 seconds to deliver their acceptance speeches. Producer/director Don Mischer couselled them: “Speak from the heart. Pulling out a list has just been proven over and over again to be quite boring.” And, as academy governor and two-time Oscar champ Tom Hanks advised them, “Spontaneity takes preparation, so memorize something memorable.”
Co-producer Dan Jinks revealed that they are turning to the “mominees” — mothers of the nominated stars — to share stories of them. “The first thing they are going to be doing is tweeting. Now, some of your moms may not tweet but we will teach them how to do that.”