Beverly Hills, California. ( Associated Press) – Thappad was pointedly addressed at the Oscar nominees’ luncheon.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Janet Yang didn’t need to describe or name Will Smith or Chris Rock for a roomful of nominees to know what she was talking about when she expressed her regret. expressed.
“I’m sure you all remember we experienced a phenomenal event at the Oscars,” Yang said at the start of the luncheon, which was attended by Tom Cruise, Angela Bassett, Cate Blanchett and Steven Spielberg, among others. “What happened on stage was completely unacceptable and our organization’s response was inadequate.”
There was little reaction from the Academy after Smith came on stage and slapped Rock during last year’s live Oscar ceremony, and neither did it immediately after it happened. About two weeks ago its board of governors voted to ban Smith from the Oscars and all Academy-related events for 10 years. Even before those moves were announced, Smith had resigned as a member of the Academy.
“This taught us the lesson that academia needs to be completely transparent and accountable for our actions,” Yang said, “and that you need to act quickly, compassionately and decisively for us and our industry, especially in times of crisis.” should work. They can’t and shouldn’t expect any less from us from now on.”
Yang, who was not president of the academy at the time of the slap, was interrupted by some applause and did not provide further details.
After this, the lunch turned to more hilarious topics.
Yang was applauded when she said the nominees in all categories would be broadcast live at the March 12 ceremony on ABC. Last year, amid controversy that was largely overshadowed by the slapstick, several categories were awarded in a pre-telecast ceremony and edited versions of the winners’ speeches were interpolated in the middle of the main ceremony.
The luncheon is a casual date where the nominees are generally treated as equals, a relatively unknown performer from an animated short might sit next to a famous Best Actor nominee.
Some, of course, attract more attention than others, and they don’t need to carry the name tag that is given to everyone.
Tom Cruise, the producer of Best Picture nominated “Top Gun: Maverick,” managed to mingle briefly with the audience in a lounge at the Beverly Hilton Hotel before he was heckled by onlookers.
Cruise and Jamie Lee Curtis, best supporting actress nominees for “Everything Everything at Once,” hug and smile as they bump into each other.
Steven Spielberg, a longtime “War of the Worlds” and “Minority Report” collaborator, was nominated for Best Director for “The Fablemans” (“Los Fablemans”), and Best Actress for Portrait with Michelle Yeoh. Had a big smile. For “Everything Everywhere All at Once”, the most nominated film of the year.
In a representative combination of a seemingly random array of lunch spots, Odessa Rae, producer of the eponymous documentary “Navalny,” shared a table and dined on risotto and mushrooms cut to look like scallops with Best Actor nominee Colin Farrell. Had a conversation
At another table nearby, Brian Tyree Henry, best supporting actor nominee for “Causeway,” laughed with Jenny Slate, star of the voice cast of the nominated animated film “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.”
The most important part of the lunch is a group photo, setting it up to feel like a graduation ceremony. An academy governor read the names of the 182 nominees as his peers applauded as he walked to take his place in the stands.
Producer Devon Franklin called out “Jamie Lee Curtis” out loud. The actress received a standing ovation when she arrived alone in the top row.
Henry, who was enrolled for the first time, raised his hand at his desk and shouted when his name was called.
Ke Hui Quan, another first-timer vying for Best Supporting Actor for “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” rushed to his position at the front and raised his fist in victory. She hugged “Babylon” composer Justin Hurwitz, who was seated next to her.
Bassett, nominated for best supporting actress for “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” got the biggest cheer of the evening when her name was called and she hugged Cruise as she took her seat next to him.
The luncheon also serves as an orientation for the Oscar nominees. Yang insisted that the thanksgiving speech at next month’s ceremony be no longer than 45 seconds.
“Let’s say it together: 45 seconds,” he told the audience.
The public repeated it in unison, though surely some of them would forget it, or they would ignore it, when they had their statue in hand.
Andrew Dalton is on Twitter at https://twitter.com/andyjamesdalton