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

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