Trophy Talk

Rotten Tomatoes Goes Inside the 2019 Oscars Luncheon

Kevin Feige fanboys over Gaga, Richard E. Grant's having too much fun, and we learn which two actors are the class favorites.

by | February 5, 2019 | Comments

Rami Malek
(Photo by Steve Granitz, WireImage)

The Academy Awards held its annual nominee luncheon this week at the Beverly Hilton Ballroom. It was a chance for nominees to rub shoulders with fellow honorees and snap the iconic class photo – many proclaim it the highlight of the season. In a room filled with the likes of Lady Gaga, Glenn CloseBradley Cooper, and Spike Lee, even the biggest stars felt free to let their inner fangirls run wild. If Beale Street Could Talk writer-director Barry Jenkins snapped a picture of Lee’s custom Nikes and chatted animatedly with A Star is Born helmer Cooper. Richard E. Grant was spotted gleefully snapping selfies with several nominees – something that caused us to lament Timothée Chalamet’s snub in the Best Supporting Actor category, as we might have seen their online bromance manifest in real life.


Nominees Briefed on Keeping it Brief

Bradley Cooper and Sam Elliott
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

It wasn’t all fun and games, though; the luncheon featured some advice and instructions for nominees for the big night, especially when it came to speeches. When a winner walks up for an acceptance speech on Oscar night, they’re not just being recognized for their performance – it’s the result of hundreds of hours, millions of dollars, and teams of people working tirelessly to achieve that goal. The temptation after all that toil is to thank everyone, which is why speeches can often run long. At the luncheon, however, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) President John Bailey made it abundantly clear that while, yes, this is a great achievement and one to be proud of, no one would be allowed extra time. Ninety seconds: That’s all that is afforded to winners to make their speeches. Bailey advised all those present to “speak from the heart, be thoughtful, and most importantly brief.” The producers of the telecast even cited director Steven Soderbergh’s acceptance speech for Traffic – which clocked in at 60 seconds from start to finish – as the perfect example of how it’s done.


Spider-Verse Producer says It’s Good Just to Hang Out; Melissa McCarthy’s Mom Says It’s Just Good They Served Lunch

Melissa McCarthy and mom Sandra
(Photo by Steve Granitz, WireImage)

Despite the time warnings, virtually all who came to the luncheon were in high spirits. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse producer Phil Lord summed it up best: “This is really the only chance we get to hang out with our peers.” He added, “We mostly do our work alone or on location, and then we send it out into the world, and that’s it. Only at events like this do we get to sit down with the brilliant [people] we admire and talk about filmmaking.” Melissa McCarthy brought her mom Sandra to the lunch and said it was not the star power that wowed her but the menu. “She’s so happy they served food,” said McCarthy. “We really get to each lunch? Oh, that’s nice!” the Bridesmaids actress joked, imitating her mother’s amusement.


Rockwell and Ali Could Meet Again 

Sam Rockwell and Christian Bale
(Photo by Jacqueline Coley)

Sam Rockwell, who won an Oscar last year for Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri, jokingly told us that after returning this year for Vice  – in which he plays former president George W. Bush – the luncheon and hoopla of awards season “was like old hat.” He added: “Look at Mahershala [Ali, nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Green Book]. He won two years ago, I won last year, and this year we are competing against each other… How can you not have fun with that?” Rockwell is currently filming Fosse/Verdon, FX’s Lin-Manuel Miranda-produced mini-series about the iconic Broadway choreographer’s life and partnership with Gwen Verdon, his wife, collaborator, and muse. The project sets him up for a potential repeat showdown with Ali, star of HBO’s True Detective, at next year’s Emmys and Golden Globes. We see more fun in their future.


Gaga Set to Join the MCU?

Lady Gaga
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

When Rotten Tomatoes hit the Golden Globes Red Carpet last month, A Star Is Born star and Best Actress nominee Lady Gaga was the person everyone wanted to meet – at the Academy luncheon, nothing had changed. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who was seated next to the pop icon, confessed, “I can’t believe my luck! I’m seated next to Lady Gaga and across from Terence Blanchard [Spike Lee’s longtime composer and world-renowned jazz musician, who this year celebrates his first nomination for BlacKkKlansman].”


First Timers Bring the Tears

(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

It was the first-time nominees that brought the most joy to the afternoon. In a special video montage shown before the lunch, Roma star Yalitza Aparicio, RBG directors Julie Cohen and Betsy West, and Black Panther production designer Hannah Beachler each gushed about hearing their names called by Kumail Najiani and Tracee Eliss Ross on the morning of the nominations. But it was Richard E. Grant, perhaps the mascot of the class, who closed the montage and brought more than a few tears: “I cannot believe, as an almost 62-year-old man, I’m standing here with an Oscar nomination.”


And the class favorites are… 

Regina King and Mahershala Ali
(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

It’s slightly poor form to do too much prognosticating in a room full of nominees, but if you were looking for final clues on favored front runners, you would have to note that a pair of supporting actors earned the loudest applause as they walked to the risers. Who were crowned the unofficial winners of “Most Popular,” you ask? Regina King and Mahershala Ali.


The Academy Awards are broadcast February 24, 8pm EST/5pm PST, on ABC. 

Tag Cloud

Mindy Kaling VOD Crackle HBO transformers Nat Geo 4/20 technology cartoon Trivia Walt Disney Pictures MSNBC Peacock latino remakes Holiday Pixar revenge Marvel Television fast and furious cancelled TV shows war Marathons Rocketman twilight TV Land Starz Spike children's TV Paramount Network politics Amazon Studios 2020 Anna Paquin Showtime Song of Ice and Fire Interview BET cancelled TV series nbcuniversal NYCC japanese Warner Bros. Turner Classic Movies Baby Yoda Summer ghosts Video Games golden globes FX Adult Swim TruTV cults cinemax Trophy Talk CMT BBC America docudrama cancelled television adaptation FX on Hulu doctor who dragons reboot The Purge Britbox Best and Worst historical drama Lionsgate movie laika Hear Us Out Lifetime Christmas movies canceled Academy Awards Heroines crossover TCA 2017 Epix hollywood asian-american stoner Grammys Columbia Pictures facebook 20th Century Fox worst President australia RT21 TIFF spider-man stop motion stand-up comedy Logo 2019 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Creative Arts Emmys discovery Western 2018 Universal PlayStation binge Winners Freeform MTV GIFs Mudbound dogs justice league spinoff cops DC Comics CNN Television Critics Association south america scary movies New York Comic Con TCA Red Carpet Cartoon Network Sundance Extras mockumentary joker documentaries slashers casting Sci-Fi medical drama Cosplay teaser GLAAD Black Mirror cooking Year in Review talk show BAFTA travel kids Avengers ITV Black History Month Shudder police drama toronto American Society of Cinematographers anime Chilling Adventures of Sabrina USA Network FXX psycho RT History TV theme song documentary El Rey LGBT based on movie Film Festival free movies space Infographic directors anthology TBS PBS Rocky CBS HBO Max ABC Family blaxploitation First Reviews X-Men APB History YouTube Premium best Character Guide DirecTV Shondaland spain child's play Esquire Action cancelled Netflix Ellie Kemper Set visit supernatural comiccon what to watch Film renewed TV shows television Syfy unscripted movies sequels award winner Family A&E Chernobyl comic Country WGN Turner emmy awards TCM Certified Fresh Opinion Musical Star Wars screen actors guild Comic Book italian Awards Tour richard e. Grant USA Pop TV Animation Endgame BBC Ovation romance streaming SDCC Spectrum Originals hist true crime dark Rock Masterpiece finale parents series Pirates Funimation Superheroes The CW Sneak Peek crime thriller Disney streaming service 45 Drama screenings 007 adventure Disney aliens comedies political drama Disney Plus quibi versus Sundance Now diversity Tarantino psychological thriller archives worst movies blockbuster scorecard franchise mutant Stephen King foreign serial killer spanish language dc elevated horror cats Christmas DC streaming service Sundance TV Spring TV singing competition nature Mary Poppins Returns Comedy Central OneApp zombie TNT game show Tomatazos vampires Musicals CW Seed The Witch indie romantic comedy cars Pride Month indiana jones zero dark thirty miniseries harry potter Mary Tyler Moore VICE SXSW news boxoffice nfl Amazon Prime Video Horror Ghostbusters universal monsters SundanceTV VH1 Captain marvel Hulu Brie Larson IFC Films Mystery Acorn TV E3 name the review 71st Emmy Awards social media 72 Emmy Awards IFC reviews PaleyFest chucky classics video on demand crime AMC festival all-time Dark Horse Comics GoT concert Box Office animated First Look Holidays halloween tv toy story Travel Channel ABC Nickelodeon Winter TV superhero satire Emmys Thanksgiving Fox Searchlight Disney+ Disney Plus YouTube Red Sony Pictures Kids & Family FOX Awards Amazon Prime obituary TCA Awards 2016 football Martial Arts comics Quiz 2017 natural history breaking bad Women's History Month period drama composers Tubi ESPN science fiction A24 Photos spanish Fantasy Premiere Dates WarnerMedia The Walking Dead Disney Channel venice Bravo Vudu Tumblr zombies Comedy Pet Sematary sag awards BET Awards Superheroe Apple TV Plus dceu TCA Winter 2020 NBC Calendar disaster Food Network Apple TV+ sequel Mary poppins critics jamie lee curtis Marvel 21st Century Fox independent Marvel Studios Rom-Com werewolf dramedy crime drama strong female leads HBO Go Binge Guide TV renewals 2015 Lucasfilm spy thriller San Diego Comic-Con Classic Film sports thriller a nightmare on elm street The Arrangement National Geographic YouTube Reality Competition hispanic die hard Valentine's Day Biopics YA LGBTQ sitcom Fox News E! Crunchyroll Super Bowl Watching Series Countdown Star Trek green book rotten Fall TV rotten movies we love halloween mission: impossible Reality 24 frames Music Nominations Apple Election CBS All Access criterion Paramount Podcast witnail Hallmark tv talk Netflix Christmas movies Lifetime Pop Oscars Television Academy TLC Trailer Teen Toys batman Discovery Channel Polls and Games Comics on TV See It Skip It DC Universe video Schedule The Academy OWN biography Cannes book Amazon ratings BBC One Emmy Nominations christmas movies MCU game of thrones french films Hallmark Christmas movies Arrowverse festivals DGA robots canceled TV shows Writers Guild of America Elton John