Oscars news: Inside Oscar nominees luncheon, Bradley Cooper on ‘American Sniper’ controversy

Pete Hammond reports, “One of the best events of the year, the annual Oscar nominees luncheon ran nearly three hours today at the Beverly Hilton. But it looked to me that no one wanted to leave when it ended. The mingling factor here, both during cocktail hour and when it was done, was epidemic … More than 150 nominees from sound editors to superstars were democratically spread throughout the Hilton’s large ballroom as the show’s marketing slogan, “Imagine What’s Possible,’ was flashed on large screens over the stage. You have to think that that these contenders believe anything is possible, and just in case, they’d better start working on those 45-second acceptance speeches. And the importance of an appearance here can’t be underestimated, especially with final online voting beginning at the end of the week. In fact, I am told that those who requested paper ballots started receiving them today.” Deadline

UPDATED: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

The crackerjack team from EW notes: “Once the majority of the 195 nominees had been seated inside the ballroom of the Beverly Hilton, Academy Awards producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron took to the stage for the real purpose of the event–to get the nominees thinking about their acceptance speeches. Although on the big night most of the people in the room will go home empty-handed, Zadan and Meron implored all the potential winners to plan ahead –‘don’t wing it,’ said Meron. ‘Make it personal, funny and heartfelt.’ And most importantly, he emphasized, ‘No lists!’ The duo, who have run the telecast for the last three years, instructed their audience that they have only 45 seconds once they reach the mic.” EW

Terry Gross talks to double Oscar nominee Bradley Cooper about producing and acting in “American Sniper” which “has prompted arguments about its depiction of the Iraq War and become a cultural lightning rod: ‘The fact that it’s inciting a discussion that has nothing to do with vets — and it’s more about the Iraq War and what we did not do to indict those who decide to go to the war — every conversation in those terms is moving farther and farther away from what our soldiers go through, and the fact that 22 vets commit suicide each day. The amount of people that come home is so much greater because of medical advancement and … we need to take care of them.'” NPR

See Oscar rankings when Experts’ predictions are combined

Sasha Stone observes, “Best Actress has been an unexciting race this year because Julianne Moore has been the projected winner since her shining reviews for ‘Still Alice‘ emerged from the Toronto Film Festival in September. Moore has never won an Academy Award, despite four nominations and twenty years of respected and lauded work. Her path to victory this year has been smooth and unchallenged, as she has won all of the major precursor awards: Critics Choice, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild. But Moore may have her most difficult competition with winning the final Oscar-prerequisite, the British Academy Award.” Awards Daily

Greg Ellwood reflects, “In an incredibly competitive year where many have noted Michael Keaton‘s numerous academy friends and Ben Affleck publicly supporting Bradley Cooper that Eddie Redmayne has his own share of supporters as well such as Robert De Niro and Anne Hathaway. Of course, Redmayne is also incredibly deserving of his honor. It’s worth noting that considering that ‘The Theory of Everything‘ and ‘Birdman‘ have made about the same at the box office and ‘The Imitation Game‘ has made as much as those two dramas combined that Redmayne still took the Best Actor prize at the SAG Awards. Redmayne’s transformation into Stephen Hawking in ‘Theory’ is remarkable and his ability to share the details of his performance (having to jump between different stages of Hawking’s condition on the same day of shooting) has only impressed his peers even more.” Hitfix

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