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

Rocketman Crackle spy thriller Western Rocky Fantasy japan facebook 2018 italian historical drama criterion slashers cartoon Black History Month Toys APB Fox Searchlight mission: impossible know your critic CMT period drama streaming Classic Film Sci-Fi Set visit 99% Tubi Paramount cats Drama Certified Fresh Martial Arts RT21 best Video Games 45 crime women obituary Best and Worst cancelled TV shows Star Trek true crime thriller Watching Series 007 TCM harry potter spain USA NYCC Lifetime Tarantino werewolf richard e. Grant Britbox TCA 2017 Marvel Television docuseries Winter TV technology cancelled free movies TCA TCA Winter 2020 TV Land Character Guide teaser DirecTV sports TV composers Music Lionsgate stoner Spectrum Originals Ovation Heroines animated Nat Geo video 20th Century Fox Pride Month dramedy Television Critics Association Exclusive Video Mindy Kaling nbcuniversal cults Hallmark ABC Signature Mary Poppins Returns talk show Election USA Network binge unscripted New York Comic Con directors Cosplay TIFF Tokyo Olympics Apple TV+ Shondaland rotten movies we love Paramount Network boxoffice IFC Films Extras movies Arrowverse police drama football cars Tumblr reviews ESPN Teen Mary Tyler Moore TV renewals ratings scene in color Comedy Sneak Peek Awards Tour FOX Hulu all-time Academy Awards high school french HBO Max news Legendary HBO Go The Purge worst See It Skip It Disney Plus ABC Family comic books The Arrangement Image Comics kong book Superheroes Tomatazos Binge Guide children's TV Netflix Funimation Polls and Games Alien VOD President Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Marvel Studios rotten comedies hidden camera blockbuster Turner Classic Movies 2021 Dark Horse Comics war Interview Red Carpet television Thanksgiving Amazon Prime adenture Song of Ice and Fire DGA transformers Universal zombies boxing twilight RT History zombie based on movie 24 frames Fox News documentaries Podcast Comics on TV crime drama Oscars razzies Apple TV Plus Animation breaking bad quibi strong female leads The Academy award winner YA Horror OWN fast and furious spanish Netflix Christmas movies disaster nfl Holidays NBA christmas movies CW Seed OneApp Acorn TV jurassic park book adaptation Country cinemax romance Hallmark Christmas movies documentary 1990s critics saw foreign Family films crime thriller indiana jones indie elevated horror Schedule social media Creative Arts Emmys docudrama Emmy Nominations Mystery BBC America kids golden globe awards revenge 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Pirates asian-american GLAAD Freeform 4/20 japanese supernatural PlayStation screenings dark 2017 Peacock Turner festival Comedy Central deadpool psycho robots dogs WGN TV One TCA Awards Reality Competition TLC zero dark thirty sag awards crossover dragons Comic Book witnail cancelled TV series what to watch toy story 21st Century Fox Nickelodeon 90s anthology new star wars movies Reality Spike Grammys franchise HBO Brie Larson mockumentary Women's History Month GIFs green book The CW 2019 australia reboot IFC target heist movie Premiere Dates stand-up comedy A24 GoT Sony Pictures Esquire Captain marvel Wes Anderson E! Nominations Ghostbusters Musicals cooking The Walking Dead Trophy Talk prank Anna Paquin toronto Mary poppins CBS All Access TV movies aapi Starz Hear Us Out Apple El Rey PBS Baby Yoda TruTV aliens The Witch trailers Summer Film Kids & Family Travel Channel X-Men hispanic political drama Trailer Stephen King 93rd Oscars comiccon name the review game of thrones NBC VH1 comics stop motion Mudbound AMC Adult Swim Biopics Pet Sematary SDCC suspense Superheroe Epix Warner Bros. spanish language politics theme song Comic-Con@Home 2021 Lifetime Christmas movies rt archives mutant Disney Channel Disney+ Disney Plus YouTube archives adaptation monster movies Bravo festivals superman Box Office dc Cannes Musical The Walt Disney Company DC Universe batman Shudder Fall TV ITV marvel cinematic universe ID black kaiju First Look Calendar joker Showtime SundanceTV Pop new york international WarnerMedia vampires 2020 MCU halloween tv golden globes 72 Emmy Awards video on demand universal monsters child's play YouTube Red spider-man Pop TV Vudu Awards National Geographic Pixar justice league Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Endgame singing competition blockbusters Sundance TV a nightmare on elm street popular LGBT godzilla parents Avengers Disney Amazon Paramount Plus Syfy Rom-Com VICE Cartoon Network laika telelvision new zealand Film Festival basketball die hard Columbia Pictures Masterpiece ViacomCBS Marvel halloween Opinion First Reviews Broadway scorecard DC Comics FX on Hulu Amazon Studios sequels sitcom doctor who Sundance Now psychological thriller Ellie Kemper jamie lee curtis MSNBC comic Food Network pirates of the caribbean hollywood SXSW natural history game show renewed TV shows blaxploitation YouTube Premium Emmys Discovery Channel History science fiction classics medical drama biography 2015 diversity emmy awards TNT Writers Guild of America 71st Emmy Awards versus live action satire spinoff Chernobyl lord of the rings Star Wars cancelled television BBC FXX hist space fresh superhero olympics ghosts BET Christmas Marathons worst movies king kong anime Walt Disney Pictures adventure tv talk Valentine's Day miniseries remakes streaming movies Sundance serial killer canceled canceled TV shows Amazon Prime Video sequel dceu DC streaming service james bond concert Quiz casting BBC One movie Disney streaming service Trivia series Infographic PaleyFest Black Mirror travel Television Academy discovery San Diego Comic-Con American Society of Cinematographers Logo A&E south america LGBTQ Countdown CBS BET Awards nature TBS Rock screen actors guild Elton John romantic comedy venice cops MTV Crunchyroll Action FX Photos Holiday Winners Pacific Islander ABC BAFTA CNN Spring TV rom-coms Lucasfilm 2016 independent Super Bowl latino scary movies finale E3 chucky Year in Review