Has Christian Bale bailed on Oscar nominees luncheon?

Christian Bale, the Supporting Actor frontrunner for “The Fighter,” is not included in the Academy’s press release touting those acting nominees who have RSVP’d for Monday’s event at the Beverly Hilton. The announcement does include the caveat “Additional confirmations are expected to come in over the weekend.”

This event has come to be an important stop on the Oscar campaign trail. Last year, New York-based Meryl Streep flew west when she was a Best Actress nominee for “Julie & Julia.” She had missed the 2008 luncheon when she contended for “Doubt” and the 2006 one when she was nominated for “The Devil Wears Prada.”

Last year, 14 of the 20 acting nominees broke bread together. Eventual Supporting Actress champ Mo’Nique (“Precious”) sent in her regrets as did 2008 winner Penelope Cruz (“Vicky Christina Barcelona”) who contended again in that category for “Nine.” Three of the five Supporting Actor nominees — Matt Damon (“Invictus”), Christopher Plummer (“The Last Station”) and Stanley Tucci (“The Lovely Bones”) — also skipped the festivities as did Best Actress nominee Helen Mirren (“The Last Station”).

In 2008, three other nominees besides Streep were no-shows: Best Actor nominee Brad Pitt who was promoting “The Curious Care of Benjamin Button” overseas; his companion Angelina Jolie, a Best Actress nominee for “Changeling”; and Streep’s “Doubt” co-star Supporting Actor nominee Philip Seymour Hoffman.

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