More than 160 Oscar nominees swarmed the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Monday, Feb. 4, to celebrate their nominations at the annual nominees luncheon.
Before breaking bread together, several nominated actors and filmmakers spoke to the press about their plans for the big night (Feb. 27) and their experiences throughout awards season. In a candid Q&A session with the press, Ben Affleck invented a new word for Oscar scientists, Jessica Chastain gushed about fashion and Denzel Washington revealed one actress he’s dying to meet.
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Here are 10 interesting reveals from the press room of the Oscar luncheon:
1. Tim Burton Fails the Metal Detectors
Tim Burton whose film Frankenweenie is nominated for best animated feature, was the first person to appear in the press room, and was sporting a unique accessory – a sling for his arm. “I slipped and fell on the streets of London,” he said, adding that he has a metal plate in his body now. “I go off at airports now, which makes flying extra fun.”
2. Jessica Chastain Dreams of Oscar Dresses
Zero Dark Thirty star Jessica Chastain, a fashion force-to-be-reckoned with on the red carpet, said she was eagerly looking forward to what she’ll wear on Feb. 24. “As a little girl, most girls dream about their wedding dress, but I always dreamed about my Oscar dress,” she told reporters. She added that she’s looking for something colorful. “I love fashion that celebrated a woman’s body, and that maybe is a throwback to the glamour of Old Hollywood, that silhouette, but somehow making it modern," she said.
3. Amy Adams Is Having Fun
Adams, nominated for best supporting actress for The Master, took the stage in the press room by saying, “Sorry, you just interrupted my flirting with Bradley Cooper and Christoph Waltz.” After a round of laughs, a reporter asked who was more receptive. “They’re both pretty open, “she said. “So it’s going to be a good lunch for me.” Adams, who is nominated for her fourth Oscar, said this year is special for one reason. “You know, I’m always saying, ‘Oh this year, I want to have fun.’ But this year, I am having fun,” she said. “Four times is awesome so I really just want to enjoy it.”
4. Ben Affleck Invents a New Word
Ben Affleck has given a lot of speeches this awards season, so maybe he needed a new word for his vocabulary. He invented one while speaking to press before the luncheon. When asked if he thinks the best director category should be expanded to 10 nominees to match the best picture category, Affleck, who was snubbed the best director nom this year, said he would “leave those sorts of calculations to the press and the pundits and the Oscarologists, or whatever it is.” The Argo producer/director/star added that he felt “so incredibly honored to be nominated as a producer for this movie, to be here at the big party.” Affleck added: “I’ve had many, many, many, many, many years watching from home.”
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5. Anne Hathaway Has a New High-Ranking Friend
Hathaway once said that at times in her career there were rooms she could not get into. When a reporter asked if that was still the case even with her supporting actress nomination for Les Miserables, the actress said, “I don’t know how to say this without sounding so obnoxious, but I’ve been hanging out with Steven Spielberg lately, so it doesn’t feel like it at the moment. But I don’t take anything for granted.”
6. Bradley Cooper Is Having a Moment
Bradley Cooper, nominated for lead actor for Silver Linings Playbook, was asked if this role as a bipolar man recently released from a mental institution was a game-changer for his career. “I know that I wasn’t up here for Hangover, so maybe,” he said, getting a round of laughs from the room.
7. Jennifer Lawrence Will Focus on Fashion
Silver Linings Playbook star Jennifer Lawrence, who has sported some stunning looks this awards season already, joked with the press that she was “going to wear sweatpants” to the Oscars. She revealed that she’s gotten some sketches together for her look, but nothing decided on yet. “Last time was comfort, this time I’m going to suck it up, wear a corset. I’m going to go for fashion. I say that, but that’s the problem with the Oscars, they’re at the end and you’re just exhausted from dressing up, so I never care, but now I will.”
8. Christoph Waltz Isn’t Celebrating
Waltz, who starred at the dentist-turned-bounty hunter in Django Unchained, said that he hasn’t been doing much celebrating at home about his best supporting actor nomination. Why? Because of nerves. “An Oscar nomination for me is a little bit for nervous anticipation. I don’t really consider nervous anticipation a reason to celebrate. We don’t talk much about it at home, and we all know it. I think that’s fine for now.”
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9. Helen Hunt Got a Nice Note
“There’s nobody like her that I’ve ever met,” said Helen Hunt of the sex surrogate, Cheryl Cohen-Greene, who she portrayed in The Sessions. Hunt, nominated for best supporting actress, revealed that Cohen-Green shared words of support for her portrayal. “She wrote me a note when the movie was done that said, ‘Thank you for understanding my intentions with Mark.’ And I think she’s lived a lot of her life with people screaming really weird things at her and not understanding her intentions.”
10. Denzel Washington Has Someone He Wants to Meet
Nominated Flight star Denzel Washington told the press room before the lunch that there was one actress he was eager to meet: Beasts of the Southern Wild’s 9-year-old star Quvenzhané Wallis, who is nominated for lead actress. “I gotta meet her. Maybe if I’m nice to her, she’ll put me in one of her movies.”
Email: Rebecca.Ford@thr.com; Twitter: @Beccamford