- By Steven McIntosh
- Entertainment journalist
This Barbie has lunch with her fellow Oscar nominees.
The annual Academy Awards luncheon was held Monday in Los Angeles, attended by 179 of this year’s nominees.
Not all candidates were able to attend. Color Purple star Danielle Brooks, for example, couldn’t escape filming Minecraft in New Zealand.
But there were plenty of other unusual celebrities, outfits, poses and facial expressions to keep us entertained. Here are 10 highlights:
1. A reunion in La La Land
For anyone with a short memory, La La Land is the movie that won Best Picture, then lost it four minutes later due to an accident involving an envelope.
This year, Gosling and Stone are back at the Oscars, but for different films: they are respectively nominated for Barbie and Poor Things.
Gosling wore a lilac suit – likely intended as a subtle reference to his Best Picture nominee.
2. Two candidates formed a club of backbenchers
Actor Sterling K Brown and composer Diane Warren stood together in the back row – an appropriate spot given that both are aware they’re not exactly the favorites in their categories.
Last week, Brown told Graham Norton: “I know I’m not going to win, and that’s fine with me. I’ll tell you: [fellow nominee] Robert Downey Jr will win. And he’s incredibly deserving, he’s an incredible actor…I’m just happy to be in the room.”
We take our hats off to the American drama star for following the awards race so closely and knowing his chances in the supporting actor race.
But even though Brown is a first-time nominee, Warren has been nominated 15 times for best original song — and has never won. She probably won’t do it this year either, with What Was I Made For? by Billie Eilish the favorite.
Takashi Yamazaki, one of the members of the nominated visual effects team for Godzilla Minus One, brought something extra to the event: Godzilla himself.
Anyone who knows anything about cinema history knows that the greatest acting performance of all time was the dog in this year’s Best Picture nominee, Anatomy of a Fall.
Known in the film as Snoop, the dog is actually a border collie called Messi who came from France to attend the lunch, along with his trainer Laura Martin Contini.
Messi was extremely popular with actors at the event, including Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper, who was photographed meeting the dog. “The Coop meets the Snoop,” reads the excellent caption.
Unfortunately, Messi wasn’t included in the class photo – which we can’t understand because he’s the best good boy. We have filed an official complaint with the Academy and will keep you informed of developments.
5. Carey and Emily represent the British
This year’s acting nominations are a bit short in Brits – the only two are Oppenheimer’s Emily Blunt and Maestro’s Carey Mulligan.
It’s worth saying that Irish stars have had another big year – with Barry Keoghan, Paul Mescal and Andrew Scott all receiving precursor nominations, including Golden Globes and Baftas.
However, only Blunt’s Irish co-star Cillian Murphy received an Oscar nod.
6. Save us a front row seat, please
If we were in the Oscars class photo, this is the row we’d ask everyone to move and make room in, because the power of awards buzz is phenomenal.
Christopher Nolan and Martin Scorsese, directors of Oppenheimer and Killers of the Flower Moon, respectively, were seated side by side in the front row, alongside two hot acting contenders.
They were Lily Gladstone, a strong Best Actress nominee for her performance in Scorsese’s film, and The Holdovers star Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who is almost certain to win Best Actress in a supporting role.
7. Billie Eilish kept it casual
Billie Eilish is always a pleasure to see on the red carpet: she constantly steals the show with interesting and innovative looks.
The Academy luncheon was no different, with Eilish turning heads with her casual bandana, yellow jacket and tartan pants matching her brother Finneas’ outfit.
The duo is nominated in the Best Original Song category for What Was I Made For? – which has already earned them a Grammy and a Golden Globe.
In fact, this award might be Barbie’s best chance to win an Oscar that night, with other films like Oppenheimer likely to dominate several of the major categories.
8. We would like to be friends with this man
In the absence of dog Messi, it’s clear who stole the show in this year’s class photo.
To the right of the photo is a man crossing his arms – a remarkable pose in a photo where most people are looking straight ahead and smiling.
The man in question is actually cinematographer Matthew Libatique, nominated for his work on Maestro, Bradley Cooper’s Leonard Bernstein biopic.
Libatique is so proud of his signature pose that he’s already taken it on the red carpet beforehand — something we’d do too if we had nails as wonderful as his.
9. Barbie wasn’t snubbed
Barbie’s Margot Robbie has been a joy to watch this awards season, wearing outfits that would make her on-screen character proud. She continued the theme in the Oscars class photo.
Although Robbie and director Greta Gerwig were not nominated for Best Actress and Best Director respectively, both were still present at the Oscars luncheon.
That’s because both are nominated in other categories – Robbie as producer, and therefore nominated for Best Picture, and Gerwig in the Best Adapted Screenplay category.
By the way, Gerwig is standing to the right of producer and songwriter Mark Ronson, nominated for Best Original Song for I’m Just Ken.
10. If something is funny, share it with the rest of the class, come on now, we all love a good joke.
But it takes a herculean effort to make sure everyone is ready the exact second the photo is taken. Inevitably, there is always someone who isn’t.
In this year’s class photo, we noticed that at least two people blink when the camera is clicked, and therefore seem to have figured out how to sleep standing up.
But the biggest mishap came from Anatomy of a Fall’s Arthur Harari, nominated for best original screenplay alongside his wife Justine Triet, who also directed the film.
Harari was seen laughing as the photo was taken. We’re not sure what exactly made him laugh, but we bet Paul Giamatti had something to do with it.
The best actor frontrunner, seen to Harrari’s right, is known for his sense of humor, having delivered a series of comical and self-deprecating acceptance speeches throughout awards season.
The 2024 Oscars ceremony, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will take place in Los Angeles on March 10.