Trophy Talk

Parasite's Bong Joon-ho Is Class Favorite at the 2020 Oscar Nominees Luncheon

We go inside the exclusive event to learn how Quentin Tarantino plans to make history, which film is the true Oscar frontrunner, and who were the most conspicuous no-shows.

by | January 29, 2020 | Comments

Charlize Theron and Renee Zellweger.
Charlize Theron and Renee Zellweger. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

The Academy Awards held its annual nominee luncheon Monday at a new location, the Dolby Ballroom at the Loews Hotel in Hollywood. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences made the decision two years ago to shorten this year’s awards season by two weeks, which resulted in the loss of their preferred home for the event, the Beverly Hilton.

A final chance to socialize with fellow honorees and snap the iconic class photo, the AMPAS luncheon is often touted as a highlight of the season. Littered with stars like Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio, Robert De Niro, and Charlize Theron, it’s hard to walk three steps without bumping into an iconic filmmaker. We spotted Matthew A. Cherry, director of animated short favorite Hair Love, snapping a picture with Knives Out director Rian Johnson and chatting animatedly with double-nominee Cynthia Erivo (Best Actress, Best Song), and Robert De Niro laughing with co-star Al Pacino in front of the DJ booth.

But the event isn’t just about star-gazing – though it definitely is that. Read below for our recap of highlights from this year’s Oscar nominees luncheon.

A shortened season keeps some stars away

Pitt and Erivo
Cynthia Erivo and Brad Pitt. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

As always, the luncheon was a star-studded affair, but it was hard not to notice the note-worthy names who opted to stay home. Supporting Actor nominees Tom Hanks, Joe Pesci, and Anthony Hopkins did not attend, while Best Actor noms Antonio Banderas, Adam Driver, and Joaquin Phoenix also skipped the lunch. Banderas is still on the stage in Spain, while Driver just finished a week at SNL, and our media-shy Oscar frontrunner Phoenix (an advocate for the luncheon’s choice to feature a plant-based menu) is likely taking a breather before the last stretch. Bombshell nominee Margot Robbie, who’s currently on the Birds of Prey press tour, and Saoirse Ronan were also absent. Most shockingly, double nominee Scarlett Johansson stayed away from her first invitation to the event. Another unfortunate casualty of the shortened awards season is that many stars are likely too exhausted from the non-stop stream of parties, screenings, awards shows, and speeches.

1917 embraces its frontrunner status

Dean-Charles Chapman, Krysty Wilson-Cairns, and George MacKay for 1917. (Photo by Bryan Beasley)

1917 stars George MacKay and Dean-Charles Chapman showed up to celebrate with cinematographer Roger Deakins, director Sam Mendes, composer Thomas Newman, and co-writer Krysty Wilson-Cairns who, were all nominated. The lack of acting nominations didn’t dampen the two young actors’ spirits, either. “Are you kidding? Today’s great!” said MacKay when we asked how he was doing before the event kicked off. And he has reason to be optimistic: 1917 has been raking in the hardware, recently adding a Producers Guild win and a Directors Guild win for the “one-shot” WWII epic. Mendes also seems to have finally embraced his frontrunner status; gone is the shocked expression he gave after his Best Director and Best Drama wins at the Golden Globes. The Skyfall director walked into the luncheon beaming, later snapping a comical photo with fellow nom Rian Johnson, who forwarded it to friend Edgar Wright, who then affectionately posted it on Twitter. Cinematography favorite Roger Deakins also took his buzz in stride, as is his famously laid-back nature; he has been here before, he joked, adding, “I just try to enjoy the day.”

Parasite team continues to woo voters and rack-up frequent flyer miles

Taika Waititi and Bong Joon-ho
Taika Waititi and Bong Joon-ho (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Last year, Lady Gaga was the biggest source of fascination for the Oscar elites. This year, that distinction falls to Parasite director Bong Joon-ho and his ever-present translator and fellow filmmaker Sharon Choi. Choi, who has been everywhere with Joon-ho this season delivering perfectly timed translations, joked that she might stumble at the finish. She told Rotten Tomatoes, “I am almost scared the Oscars is where I might finally mess up.” We’re betting that won’t happen, but we’re all but assured to see Choi on the Oscar stage and the film’s team will undoubtedly continue to own every room they step in. A constant of the season has been that when “Team Parasite” arrives, everyone – from Brad Pitt to Quentin Tarantino – takes notice. Parasite helmer Bong had to hop a flight to Rotterdam straight after the luncheon, where he is set to premiere a black-and-white print of his socio-political thriller at the Rotterdam Film Festival.

QT looks to make history with another Screenplay win

Quentin Tarantino
Quentin Tarantino. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood writer-director Quentin Tarantino also made an entrance, sporting a throwback bowling shirt and a pretty happy disposition considering the grind of the season. With a steady energy that hasn’t wavered over the past weeks, the two-time Oscar winner chatted animatedly with his fellow nominees and the assorted press. He told Rotten Tomatoes that he obviously hopes the film wins in every category, but the Best Original Screenplay Oscar would be especially meaningful for him. “It’s a historic thing… only one other guy has won three Original Screenplay Oscars,” he said. If he wins for Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, he would join Woody Allen (he’s the “one other guy”) and be on track to maybe surpass him with his rumored final film.

And the class favorites are… 

Greta Gerwig
Greta Gerwig. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

As we have said before, it’s slightly poor form to do too much prognosticating in a room full of nominees, but as the room is also filled with Oscar voters, one can take a sort of unofficial poll: who gets the loudest applause as they walk to the risers. Who were this year’s unofficial winners of “Most Popular?” Greta Gerwig and – no surprise – Bong Joon-ho.

The 92nd Academy Awards are broadcast Sunday, February 9, at 8pm EST/5pm PST on ABC. 

Tag Cloud

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