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Seasoned And Newbie Nominees Attend Oscar Luncheon

Nominees for the 87th Oscars¨ at the Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton, Monday, February 2, 2014. The 87th Oscars¨, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, will air on Sunday, February 22. , Todd Wawrychuk / ©A.M.P.A.S.

By: Marjorie Galas

This year’s Oscar race welcomes back many of the organization’s most heralded artisans, from cinematographer Roger Deakins (“Unbroken” marks his twelth Oscar nomination – he’s yet to win a statue) to actress Meryl Streep (“Into the Woods” is Streep’s nineteenth nomination, she has three wins). However, a strong cast of first timers will join the seasoned pros on the red carpet as they enter the Dolby Theater February 22nd. To celebrate all this year’s nominees, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences held their annual Oscar Nominee Luncheon Monday, February 2nd. Several of the day’s guests of honor stepped away from the festivities to share their excitement with the press.

Steve Carell admitted he was really excited on nomination day, when he received his first Oscar nomination for his leading role in “Foxcatcher”.

“I was watching the nominations alone, downstairs at 5:20am in the dark. When my name was called, I was running upstairs and my wife was running downstairs. We met in the middle and jumped up and down,” said Carell.

When asked what he thought his nomination would lead to, Carell stated “That remains to be seen.” Above anything else, Carell said he just wants to work on good projects, be they comedic or dramatic.

The supporting actress nomination for “Boyhood” is Patricia Arquette’s first Oscar nomination.   Arquette stated she never made her career choices to gain recognition, so receiving an Oscar nomination was completely unexpected..

“I hope I don’t faint,” said Arquette. “I feel like a grown up person at Disneyland. It all feels like a very long dream.”
While his supporting role in “Birdman” marks Edward Norton’s third Oscar nomination, Michael Keaton’s leading role and Emma Stone’s supporting role resulted in a first nom for each. Currently appearing as Sally Bowles in the Broadway adaptation of “Cabaret” Stone stated it feels like she’s still in “Birdman” every night as she prepares backstage. “I’ve never expected anything like this. It’s (Sally Bowle’s) dream to be doing this,” joked Stone.

Lead actor nominee Keaton stated he had been a fan of director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s earlier work, specifically “Amores Perros” prior to signing on for “Birdman.” He came to call the “passionate and crazy” director a friend by the end of production.

“We were at the Santa Barbara Film Festival and what he said about me there, it just…” Keaton fell silent, deeply appreciative of Inarritu’s respect for him and his performance.

When asked what he would say if he won the Oscar, Keaton said he was a simple man who has worked hard for everything he received and found making speeches progressively more challenging.

“You’re talking to a dude who wakes up and says ‘I’m thankful I have two arms and two legs.’ I like to keep it simple. I’m just going to say what I feel at the moment.”

“The Theory of Everything” also recognized two first time Oscar nominees: Felicity Jones (leading actress) and Eddie Redmayne (leading actor). With numerous wins for theater and film under his belt, Redmayne took the nomination in stride, stating he felt it was “bad luck” to write an acceptance speech in advance. Jones remained overwhelmed by the experience of attending multiple award ceremonies and meeting diverse and sometimes unexpected artists.

“I got to meet Patti Smith. I have to say that’s been my favorite thing so far,” said Jones.

Marking her second lead actress nomination (her first nom resulted in a win for “Walk the Line”) Reese Witherspoon was particularly proud to be a producer of “Wild.” Noting that many people speak about the need for better female roles, she decided to take action and bring Cheryl Strayed’s best-selling biopic to the big screen.

“I’ve seen six actresses fight for the same role, and I thought ‘We deserve better’ so I started my own production company,” said Witherspoon. “I feel like I really fought for this, and it is so rewarding.”

Julianne Moore will be making her fifth trip down the Oscar red carpet as a nominee for her leading role in “Still Alice.” While the actress has yet to win a statue, her greatest joy in the recognition she’s received for the film is feedback from viewers whose lives have been impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.

“In doing my research I learned Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth leading cause of death. After diagnosis, many sufferers don’t feel seen or represented,” said Moore. “The reaction from people with Alzheimer’s has been amazing, and I’m very proud of that.”

Robert Duvall, a six time nominee for his supporting role in “The Judge” (he has one win for “Tender Mercies”) cooly informed the press “I’m not going to win.” The actor preferred to herald the young talent he’s worked with as a director, including Josh Harnett and James Franco. Rosamund Pike, a first time nominee for her lead role in “Gone Girl” was thrilled to be nominated and was giddy to be in the same room with talent such as Duvall.

“I feel like I am in a game show. When I walk around a corner and I never know what to expect,” joked Pike.

Her nomination for “Into the Woods” marks costume designer Colleen Atwood‘s 11th Oscar nomination (she has three previous wins – “Chicago”, “Memoirs of a Geisha” and “Alice in Wonderland”). Initially joking that she was very hungry and excited to eat lunch, Atwood admitted Oscar nomination recognition still holds a great amount of anticipation for her.

“It’s a fun day, and a great honor,” said Atwood. “And, attending the luncheon is still a very fun time.”

To learn more about the Oscars, visit:
www.oscars.org