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

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