Steven Spielberg, Will Smith… The Oscar candidates reconnect with the ritual of lunch before the awards

From Steven Spielberg to Will Smith to Bhutanese director Pawo Choyning Dorji, the Oscar candidates happily reunited Monday in a large hotel in Los Angeles, after too long a break due to the pandemic. The annual luncheon organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, was canceled last year but the international stars found themselves there with enthusiasm.

Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz could be seen chatting over a drink with Guillermo del Toro and Maggie Gyllenhaal while, not far away, Denzel Washington took pictures for a long line of admirers.

If ever there was a time to be grateful and rejoice at an occasion that allows us to be in the same room, ladies and gentlemen, it’s this year.“, launched Will Packer, who will produce the evening of the 94th edition of the Oscars, on March 27. Last year, the most popular ceremony of American cinema took place in the central station of Los Angeles, with candidates who rubbed shoulders only in the open air and took turns on the stage during the show.This year, the gala evening of March 28 (in France) will be almost normal and will return to the traditional Dolby Theater of Hollywood Boulevard and its red carpets.

Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the film The Power of the Dog in the running for the Oscar for best feature film, the supreme reward, told AFP to be “happy to keep beating the bell“votes for this dark western in the home stretch of the votes. Especially since the director of the film, Jane Campion, could not be present after having tested positive for Covid-19.I believe this movie will stand the test of time“, said the British artist, himself a candidate for the Oscar for best actor for his role as a tormented cowboy. In the running for the category of best director, Jane Campion will “good“and doesn’t feel any symptoms, he said.

The film crew CODA, a remake of the French film “La Famille Bélier” which features a deaf family and their hearing daughter, was also present. The independent film received the first prize at the SAG Awards at the end of February, awards given by the union of American actors who generally weigh heavily in the race for the Oscars. “We are a very close-knit cast, so it was wonderful to receive such an award, and very unexpected“said one of its stars, the young Emilia Jones.

The film premiered – via the internet due to the pandemic – at Sundance in January 2021, which means the cast of CODA campaign against competitors whose films have been released”months after ours“.

Among the international stars, we also find the author of “The school at the end of the world“, an amazing film from Bhutan, a small country in the Himalayan peaks, which is its first Oscar participation. The feature film had been presented at the 2021 edition but had not been selected at that time. for technical reasons. Its director, Pawo Choyning Dorji, assured AFP that he “thought it was a mistake” when he learned of the film’s nomination.

I just cried meeting Jessica Chastain“, adds his wife, producer Stephanie Lai, seated at the table next to that of the star of In the eyes of Tammy Fayefavorite for the Oscar for best actress.

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Steven Spielberg, Will Smith… The Oscar candidates reconnect with the ritual of lunch before the awards