Inside the Oscar Nominees Luncheon with Tom Cruise, Steven Spielberg, Jamie Lee Curtis and More

The annual Oscar nominees luncheon is back at the Beverly Hilton and back to the old days (well, 2019) before the pandemic changed everything. But if the attendance and attendance at today’s luncheon is any indication the Oscars themselves could be in for a very good night as the Academy seems bound and determined to return the show to its old tone, and that means a more traditional kind of Oscars experience. After the surreal pandemic-hit show at Union Station in 2021 and last year’s Will Smith slap version. We could use a little comfort food from the Oscars, and I feel, with Jimmy Kimmel back as host, it might be just what the doctor ordered for the Academy’s big night.

Set to begin at 11:30 AM today for the reception, the Hilton’s ballroom quickly filled with plenty of mingling and networking, with a mask in sight. clearly ownership There was space Top Gun: Maverick Best Picture nominee Tom Cruise is making his first appearance at an awards event this season and is literally getting mobbed. And it was a guy who was mobbed by some famous people themselves as well as industry stalwarts like former DreamWorks executive and AMPAS board member Bonnie Arnold who told me that made his day. “I just got a picture with Tom Cruise!” she exclaimed happily.

Pete Hammond/Deadline

Guillermo del Toro also made a beeline for the star, when he approached Cruise, saying, “I need to talk to Thomas. I have to talk to Thomas,” he said as he descended the stairs. Cameras were constantly clicking and Cruise looked like he was having a blast, welcoming all who wanted a piece of his stardust. Top Gun: Maverick Producer Jerry Bruckheimer was nearby, basking in the glow of a luncheon that was his first since, believe it or not, the film’s Best Picture nomination was his first for any blockbuster movie.

Steven Spielberg Pete Hammond/Deadline

Steven Spielberg, by contrast, has been around this block more than a few times Fabelmans representing his 12th nomination for Best Picture (a record for a producer) and his ninth for directing but you wouldn’t know it from the enthusiasm he’s showing. Because it represents only his first Oscar recognition for screenwriting as he and co-writer Tony Kushner are nominated in the Best Original Screenplay category. When I ran into him at Will Call where we collected our badges, Spielberg proudly showed me his badge, indicating the three categories he was listed for. “This is the first time I’ve personally received three nominations for the same movie,” he said clearly over the moon. The movie received 7 nominations but inexplicably none for film editing which I told him it richly deserved, if only for the scene where Spielberg’s alter-ego Sammy editing The family film he shot only to discover his mother in an awkward embrace with a family friend. It is all played in silence, and is expertly shot and cut. Spielberg told me he learned long ago to be grateful for you to do found.

Diane Warren, Bill Kramer

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I mentioned a famous moment in the 1976 TV special TVTV Goes to the Oscars that Spielberg had that particular season. the jaw It was nominated for Best Picture, but missed out on a Director nomination. The camera was on the then-nominee director as the nominees in his category were revealed for the first time on television. Name Federico Fellini Amarcord The first one was called and Spielberg said dejectedly and immediately, “I don’t understand”. He knew right away that it wasn’t meant to be jaw, And he says it taught him a lesson in how to roll with the punches of it all. Incidentally, he told me that he had actually met Fellini four years earlier during his 1971 ABC TV movie, Duel was being released in Italy, and the master Italian filmmaker took her under his wing and gave her a five-hour tour of the iconic Cinecittà movie studio. While he was nominated for Young Director, Spielberg now says only “it’s an honor” to lose the nomination to Federico Fellini.

14-time nominee Diane Warren caught up with new AMPAS CEO Bill Kramer in a corner of the Hilton. I asked him if he too had been nominated for 14 lunch. “I don’t remember all of them right. Were they detained when I first got nominated?,” he asked me and I told him ‘yes’, so he was sure. “If they invited me to this lunch, I would definitely come every time.”


Pete Hammond/Deadline

The amazing Malala was there as an executive producer of Joshua Seftel’s nominated documentary short. stranger at the gate Greetings for the first time and a lot of fans. I asked if he attended the luncheon for his 2015 feature documentary He named me Malala But he didn’t. “We were shortlisted but not shortlisted to five nominees,” he said. This time he is going to the Oscars.

Jamie Lee Curtis

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Jamie Lee Curtis, another first-time nominee, told me during a taping last week for my Deadline video series, Actor’s direction Which will go on Wednesday as she’ll wear a string of pearls from her godmother Edie Wasserman, and when I caught her on her way out, it was indeed a sentimental gesture that seemed perfect for the day. The nomination is a huge thrill, says Curtis, ranking just behind her wedding to Christopher Guest and her two daughters (I also saw Annie Guest at the luncheon).

Curtis was the first name called for a class photo, and he received a standing ovation from the crowd as he rose to the riser ahead of the 181 nominees, a record turnout for this luncheon, to be called upon to take the iconic photo, one of the main ones at this Oscar nominee luncheon. Other acting nominees called by AMPAS board member Devon Franklin included Cate Blanchett, Michelle Yeoh, Colin Farrell, Austin Butler, Kay Hui Kwan, Jude Hirsch, Brendan Gleeson, Brendan Fraser, Paul Mescal, Hong Chow, Michelle Williams, Bill. Nighy and Angela Bassett, received the loudest applause after her name was called. There was also a lot of encouragement coming from the top left corner of the room for everything Everything everywhere at once, But if you’re basing your Oscar predictions on the applause in this room, think again. It was hard to decide who was the most popular this year, spread pretty evenly, though after about 150 names it gets a little tiring to clap.

Oscar class photo

Nominees for the 95th Oscars pose for the annual class photo at the Beverly Hilton

Richard Harbaugh / AMPAS

Hong Chau, Ke Hui Quan

Pete Hammond/Deadline

As the Academy’s new president, Janet Young, said in her welcome speech (where she was also scathing about AMPAS’ flaws when dealing with Will Smith’s slap last year – see separate story) “You’re all winners here”. He also got the crowd to repeat in unison that they understood they had 45 seconds to deliver their Oscar acceptance speeches. “How long do you have?” Yang asked. “45 seconds!”, the packed ballroom shouted back.

Here are my first predictions for the 95th Academy Awards. Come to the Dolby Theater on March 12th EVERY WINNER IS NOT GOING TO DO WHAT THEY JUST PROMISED Janet Young will be to do

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