Academy luncheon is time for reflection in high stakes year

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- The annual Oscar nominees luncheon is generally a time of low-stakes celebration, but this year amid discussions of Oscar diversity and a boycott, as well as dramatic changes to academy membership, the Monday gathering was also one for reflection.

See Full Article

Those at the luncheon did their best to keep things focused on the nominees and not the controversy swirling around the industry. Producers Reginald Hudlin and David Hill also announced a big change for the show on Feb. 28. Winners will still have a tight 45 seconds for their acceptance speeches, but now, thanks to a scroll of key names that will appear on the screen, the speech doesn't just have to be a list of people.

This development, they hope, will give winners an opportunity to say what's in their heart, rather than worrying about forgetting to thank an agent, producer or director.

While the luncheon was full of schmoozing and love, with attendees like Steven Spielberg, Alejandro Inarritu, Lady Gaga and more, backstage, diversity and #OscarsSoWhite dominated the discussions.

Sylvester Stallone, who became a focal point in the controversy for being the sole nominee (supporting actor) from "Creed," which had both a black director and lead actor, said he consulted with director Ryan Coogler as to whether or not he should attend at all.

"I said, 'if you want me to go, I'll go, if you don't, I won't,'" Stallone told reporters before lunch. "He said, 'Just go there and try to represent the film.'"

Prior to the luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif., various nominees stopped to speak to a room of reporters about everything from finance reform to fashion. But Stallone wasn't the only one thinking about the question of diversity, both at the Oscars and in the industry at large. For his part, Stallone said that he believes things will change and it's just a matter of time.

"Spotlight" director Tom McCarthy complimented Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, for doing "an amazing job of navigating change."

McCarthy said he has faith in the film community's ability to push the needle for change.

"Mad Max: Fury Road" director George Miller said that from his standpoint, casting is story-driven and commented how television has been ahead of the game in diverse casting.

Rooney Mara, nominated for her supporting performance in the 1950s-set lesbian drama "Carol," said she had just read an article the other day suggesting that there should be a hashtag for "Oscars so straight."

"These are all important conversations for us to be having," Mara said.

Beyond the discussions of #OscarsSoWhite, the nominees were also just excited to be there to celebrate with their peers.

Alicia Vikander, nominated for her supporting performance in "The Danish Girl," was one appreciating the moment. She saw her co-star Eddie Redmayne (also a nominee) go through the process last year during filming when he was nominated, and won, for "The Theory of Everything."

"He said try and enjoy it because it is very wonderful," Vikander said.

Isaacs also tried to steer the focus back to the nominees at large inside the room.

"This year, we all know there's an elephant in the room. I've asked the elephant to leave," said Isaacs in her opening remarks. "Today is all about your incredible work."

The annual event brings together over 150 nominees to celebrate the honor before the golden statuettes are actually handed out at the 88th Academy Awards ceremony on Feb. 28.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Mudbound's Dee Rees aims for 'changing people's idea about themselves'

    Entertainment CBC News
    Mudbound's Dee Rees aims for 'changing people's idea about themselves'2:24 Mudbound actors Rob Morgan, Garrett Hedlund and filmmaker Dee Rees on making the film festival favourite, adapted from a book by Hillary Jordan. Source
  • Guy Maddin 'ludicrously honoured' to have designed Winnipeg warming hut

    Entertainment CBC News
    A warming hut designed by Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin will be among those lining The Forks' Red River skating trail in Winnipeg this winter. The Winnipeg-born Maddin's piece holds as much mystery as its name: Temple of Lost Things. Source
  • Victoria's Secret gala hits snag in China as model pulls out

    Entertainment CTV News
    Top U.S. fashion model Gigi Hadid on Friday pulled out of the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show in Shanghai after an online video showing her apparently making a slant-eyes face sparked criticism in China. The announcement is the second apparent snag to hit the U.S. Source
  • EA backs off in-game purchases in 'Star Wars Battlefront II' controversy

    Entertainment CTV News
    The developers of a new Star Wars video game are backing off their controversial business strategy following a storm of criticism on the social media site Reddit. Fans of “Star Wars: Battlefront II” showed their dark side earlier this week when they discovered the game’s maker, Electronic Arts, was keeping popular characters Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader behind a paywall. Source
  • Rare comic showing Superman's 1st appearance to be auctioned

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- A well-preserved issue of the 1938 comic book that first featured Superman is heading to the auction block. Profiles in History announced Friday that it will sell a copy of Action Comics .1 at a Dec. Source
  • Transparent actress alleges impropriety by star Jeffrey Tambor

    Entertainment CBC News
    An actress on Transparent says the show's star Jeffrey Tambor pressed his body against hers in a sexually aggressive manner and made inappropriate and unwanted sexual statements on the set of the show. Tambor denies the allegations saying in a statement that he has "never been a predator — ever. Source
  • Steven Avery attorney wants judge to reconsider denial of new trial

    Entertainment CTV News
    MANITOWOC, Wis. -- An attorney for a Wisconsin man convicted of homicide in a case featured on the Netflix series "Making A Murderer" is again asking a judge to reconsider a prior ruling rejecting a request for a new trial. Source
  • Actor Tom Sizemore denies groping allegations

    Entertainment CTV News
    SALT LAKE CITY -- Actor Tom Sizemore has addressed recent allegations that he groped an 11-year-old Utah girl during a 2003 photo shoot. Sizemore says he never inappropriately touched the child and calls the claims "highly disturbing. Source
  • What to expect if Prince Harry and Meghan Markle become engaged

    Entertainment CTV News
    As the Queen and Prince Philip prepare to celebrate 70 years of marriage with their platinum wedding anniversary on Nov. 20, royal watchers will be keeping a close eye on the weeks that follow for news of another royal occasion. Source
  • Movie reviews: 'Justice League' soars as a self-aware superhero smackdown

    Entertainment CTV News
    JUSTICE LEAGUE: 3 ½ STARS The old truism “less is more” has been thrown into the interdimensional void with the release of the new jam-packed superhero film “Justice League.” At almost two hours, and featuring the talents of not one but two high-powered directors—Joss Whedon took over for Zach Synder who stepped away in post-production due to personal issues—it features the top-line DC heroes like Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) plus a host of others…