It’s overcast in Los Angeles today, but that didn’t stop this year’s batch of Oscar nominees from smiling at the annual Academy Award luncheon, honoring them and their competition at the iconic Beverly Hilton. Celebs like George Clooney, Viola Davis, Melissa McCarthy, Brad Pitt and Michelle Williams popped into the press room in between cocktails and kept reporters laughing with their banter and silly answers. I was there, hiding in the corner with my laptop, and it seriously sounded like the inside of the Laugh Factory. Who wouldn’t be happy hobnobbing with their A-List peers over some seriously good food?
Some of the best behind the scenes moments…
George Clooney was the first of the talent to hit the press room. “I got here early for the booze,” he joked. The actor, nominated twice this year, might just be the most beloved man in Hollywood. He knew all the reporters and even ribbed one guy about his vest. “Did your wife make that?” teased George. I’ve never seen a man charm a room of people so effortlessly as the Cloonster. Even more delightful – his gorgeous, silver hair. Sorry Anderson Cooper, but a new number one Silver Fox has arrived.
Also charmed by George – Viola Davis, who detailed her honeymoon stay at the actor’s Italian villa. “It was so romantic,” said The Help star. “And so generous of him. Its not like George and I hang out.” She added, laughing, “I mean, I like the guy.”
Viola looked amazing – and I do mean ahhh-mahhhh-zing – in a neon pink JC Obando dress and some serious arm muscles. The woman is ripped. She was also at ease, telling reporters, “At the end of the day you really have to define joy and happiness for yourself…Doing the publicity for this movie, I have found my voice…when I started getting all this scrutiny for this choice of playing a maid, I was taken aback at first. But through the course of having to defend my choices, I have really found my voice.”
I got to see Rooney Mara in the flesh for the first time. She’s quite pretty, and I find the thick bang look totally works on her. She revealed that she was at the Superbowl (her family owns the NY Giants) and laughed when asked what it takes to pick a dress for the Oscars. “I haven’t found a dress yet,” she said. “It’s a simple process. People send you things you try them on and you wear what you like.”
Octavia Spencer is just the best, and it’s not just because we share a last name. “This is my first time to the party so I am going to enjoy every aspect of it,” she said. In between answering questions she adorably sang “I’m an Oscar nomineeeeeee” into the mic multiple times. See? The best!
The quiet Janet McTeer, nominated for her work in Albert Nobbs, got the biggest laugh of the press room when her cell phone rang in her purse. “Can you turn off your phones please?” she joked. “No respect for talent.”
Brad Pitt spoke about his charitable work. “It’s been one of the nicest things about where I get to stand today,” he said. Funny, because the nicest thing about where I stood today was getting to be ten feet away from Brad Pitt.
Jean DuJardin continues to rule my heart with his grin and his musings in broken English and his general hotness. He said he likes to eat cinnamon buns when he’s in LA. I like to eat cinnamon buns every day! Soul mates?
Best Actor nominee Demian Bichir received cheers from reporters upon his arrival in the press room. George Clooney and Brad Pitt praised his work in A Better Life, and he seemed equally taken with his competition. “It’s weird,” he said. “I was talking to Brad and George over there and I was like ‘What?!” Just to be a apart of those names in an industry with so much tslent, it makes it an incredible honor.”
For more moments from today’s luncheon, check out our gallery below.