- Language Tips
With a high-five from 9-year-old actress Quvenzhane Wallis, and a pledge that Oscars night will have something for everyone, the Academy Awards kicked into high gear on Monday at a lunch for more than 160 nominees.
Jennifer Lawrence, Steven Spielberg, Jessica Chastain, Naomi Watts, Joaquin Phoenix, Kathryn Bigelow, Anne Hathaway and Denzel Washington were among the Oscar-nominated actors, directors and producers who mingled over cocktails and lunch at a Beverly Hills hotel. They then gathered for the traditional group photo of the Academy Award class of 2012.
Beasts of the Southern Wild newcomer Wallis, the youngest actress to be nominated in the lead actress category, slapped hands with Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Hawk Koch as her name was called to join her peers for the annual photo ahead of the Feb 24 ceremony.
Argo producer-director Ben Affleck, riding high after his Iran hostage thriller took its third major award over the weekend, shrugged off being overlooked in the best-director Oscar shortlist.
"I feel honored to be here. It's a big party," Affleck said, adding, "I've had many, many nights watching (the Oscars) from home."
Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, who will be producing the three-hour Academy Awards telecast for the first time, said performances by Barbra Streisand, Adele and Norah Jones, along with special tributes to Hollywood musicals and 50 years of James Bond movies, should give the ceremony wide appeal.
The popularity of many of the nine best-picture nominees should also help bring in big audiences at home and abroad, they said.
"It has been a great year for movies. The movies are very competitive and they have done great box office. So we feel there is more interest this year than perhaps previous years," Zadan said.
Life of Pi, Lincoln, Argo, and Django Unchained have made more than $150 million each so far at the North American box office alone, while Silver Linings Playbook and Zero Dark Thirty have grossed more than $70 million each.
Last year's best-film winner, black-and-white silent movie The Artist, took just $44.7 million at the box office in the United States and Canada, even after the boost from its five Oscars.
Zadan and Meron reminded the nominees that the Oscar telecast was seen by an estimated 1 billion people in more than 200 countries, and urged them to keep their acceptance speeches short and sweet.
The show is being hosted for the first time by provocative Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane. But Meron and Zadan said they had no worries about MacFarlane and his reputation for risque comedy.
"Seth has been at every production meeting. We have been collaborating on everything, so we are not going to be surprised by anything," Zadan said.
(China Daily 02/06/2013 page10)