By CCTV reporter Kristie Hang
BEIJING, Feb. 13 (Xinhuanet) -- As is usually the case, the mood was friendly at this year’s Academy Award nominees luncheon, which throws together big-name stars and directors as well as animators, musicians, editors and other fellow contenders for the Oscar gold.
For the last hurrah for the academy awards, the Oscar Luncheon starts with a red carpet, press interviews and a class photo.
Having to walk the press filled red carpet to enter the ballroom, stars apparently knew that there was no dress code. Fashion choices were as eclectic as the movies they represented.
Sandra Bullock, who is up for Best Actress, went for a floral print dress. Meanwhile 64-year-old Meryl Streep, who is hoping to take home the award for her performance in "August: Osage County", looked youthful in a pink number. In the same category, Amy Adams and Cate Blanchett in particular couldn't have picked more opposing looks as one went retro and the other opted for a futuristic ensemble.
In the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor categories, there is a fashion standoff between casual and formal. Two actors from "The Wolf of Wall Street", Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill were dressed up with ties, while Matthew McChonaughey seemed to have left his tie at home. Jared Leto, as usual, stood out in his rock star outfit - a gold blazer and a pair of sparkling shoes.
Once off the red carpet, nominated actors and directors chose to speak to the international press, as the last big press campaign before the award ceremony.
Lupita Nyong'o got her breakout role in "12 Years a Slave" before her graduation from Yale University. And this very first Hollywood debut won her an Oscar nomination. She told us that she loves the way this historic piece communicates with people.
"It seems to be in lots of places in the world. And that's a humbling experience to have so many people embrace you and identify with you, that's the beauty of film. It brings people closer together," Nyong'o said.
The excitement is not only shared by the newcomers, but also Oscar veterans. Oscar winning actress Cate Blanchett, who's been nominated six times, didn't think she would get nominated this year. Apparently she is still in a bit of shock on this whole Oscar ride.
"This took me by surprise. I threw myself at the role. Whenever you do that you are nervous about the result. You're part unconscious when you're working deeply," said Blanchett of "Blue Jasmine".
Both Cate Blanchett and Sandra Bullock had a drastic change from their previous roles, but the biggest makeover in last year's pictures was in "Dallas Buyers Club" when Matthew McConaughey and Jerad Leto had some horrific weight lose. Leto told us that changing weight was not something new to hardworking actors.
"I gained 67 pounds for a little film obviously you didn't see called 'Chapter 27'. It's not a lot of fun. It’s really bad for your body. I would never gain weight again for a role," Leto said.
As the stars enjoyed the spotlight, they didn't forget to thank their directors who created the characters for them to step out of their comfort zones and gain all the attention during movie campaigns. That is a classic Hollywood tradition and this year Oscar nominees showed their gratitude.
"David (O. Russell) has a way of challenging an actor past what they think they are capable of. He just keeps on you until you give him what he saw in you," said Amy Adams, of "American Hustle".
"Marty (Scorsese) has never been a didactic type of director that explains or spoon feeds to the audience what the ramifications of actions are. He goes in and says I'm not going to judge these characters," said DiCaprio.
The last questions all reporters cared about was if those nominees have prepared for their winning speeches. Best Actor nominee Matthew McConaughey, said it took 20 years to make "Dallas Buyer's Club" and felt the nomination for Best Picture was celebration enough.
"One of the surprising things is we have six nominations for this film, this little film we never thought we'd get made. Getting it made makes us feel a victory in that," he said.
And Best Supporting nominee Jonah Hill had no illusions about winning an Oscar for his performance in "The Wolf of Wall Street". "The possibility of winning is so insane to me. It seems indulgent to write a speech. I guess I will for the one in a million chance it happens so I don't sound stupid," Hill said.
Before the luncheon ended, it came time for the traditional nominee class photo, everyone headed for the stage, including Cate Blanchett, who ditched her heels and ran most of the way. As the names were called, one by one, each nominee proudly claimed his or her rightful place on the riser and stood proudly on the stand.
Oscar luncheon is the last big event before the actual ceremony. For now everybody is still a winner.