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Inside the Oscar Nominees Luncheon

Inside the Oscar Nominees Luncheon

Megan Ellison and Bono were chatting intensely. Meryl Streep and David O. Russell kept each other amused for 20 minutes. Pharrell Williams sported his Grammys hat, Jared Leto rocked a gold jacket and Spike Jonze -- a collared T-shirt and cargo jacket?

They could all be found at the 33rd annual Oscar nominees luncheon.

The star-filled gathering took place Monday in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton. Hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' board of governors, it drew the vast majority of this year's 203 Oscar nominees -- including A-listers such as Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Sandra Bullock (Gravity) and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club). The stars were assigned seats at one of several dozen tables alongside nominees from other categories own, as well as a few lucky journalists including myself. The nominees eventually all posed together for a "class photo" before picking up their official Oscar nomination certificate and a gift bag that included an "Oscar Nominee" sweatshirt.

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Oscar Breakdown: Best Supporting Actor

Oscar Breakdown: Best Supporting Actor

Prior to the 86th Oscars on March 2, THR's awards analyst Scott Feinberg will present an eight-part series of posts breaking down the key facts and figures pertaining to each of the "big eight" Oscar categories. (For his predictions, see the weekly "Feinberg Forecast" post.) This post focuses on the best supporting actor Oscar race.

And the nominees for the best supporting actor Oscar at the 86th Oscars are...

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'Frozen' Cast Reunites for Cabaret, Idina Menzel Belts Out Oscar Favorite 'Let It Go' (Video)

'Frozen' Cast Reunites for Cabaret, Idina Menzel Belts Out Oscar Favorite 'Let It Go' (Video)

On Sunday night at the Vibrato in Bel Air, Calif., several dozen film industry insiders were the envy of kids the world over as they witnessed a live performance of the songs from the hit animated film Frozen's chart-topping soundtrack.

All of the principal cast members -- Kristen Bell, Idina Menzel and Josh Gad, who served as the night's emcee -- were on hand along with Disney-Pixar chief John Lasseter; the film's co-directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee; Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-  Lopez  , the married, Oscar-nominated writers behind the film's original songs, including hit single "Let It Go"; and others associated with the movie.

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Saturday Awards Barrage Spreads Wealth Between Many Contenders (Analysis)

Saturday Awards Barrage Spreads Wealth Between Many Contenders (Analysis)

We are now just three weeks from the 86th Academy Awards, and don't think that contenders, publicists and journalists aren't counting the days. It has been a long and draining season for all of the aforementioned parties, which is why some were half applauding and half rolling their eyes on Saturday night as a barrage of yet more awards were dished out -- including one to an ex-slave who has been dead for 150 years, another to a guy who hasn't stopped campaigning since September and yet another to a director at a ceremony for production designers. Go figure.

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Santa Barbara Film Fest: Robert Redford Reluctantly Reflects on a Great Career

Santa Barbara Film Fest: Robert Redford Reluctantly Reflects on a Great Career

SANTA BARBARA -- If Friday night's Santa Barbara International Film Festival tribute to Robert Redford taught us anything, it is that the legendary actor-director-festival founder is a man of his word. The 77-year-old agreed to come to the fest to participate in a Q&A and accept the American Riviera Award back in Dec., when it looked like a sure thing that he would receive a best actor Oscar nomination for All Is Lost. When that did not happen in Jan., he could have understandably, if disappointingly, pulled out, as some others who were Oscar-snubbed did this year and in years past. But, as an old showbiz pro and a man who knows how tough it is to put together a festival, he did not want to leave someone else hanging and not only showed up but provided one of the more exciting and fascinating evenings of the fest's 29th edition.

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Santa Barbara Film Fest: 'Wolf' Pack Reunites as Scorsese, DiCaprio Accept Award From Hill

Santa Barbara Film Fest: 'Wolf' Pack Reunites as Scorsese, DiCaprio Accept Award From Hill

SANTA BARBARA -- The Arlington Theatre has rarely been as buzzing with excitement, both inside and outside, as it was on Thursday night as director Martin Scorsese and actor Leonardo DiCaprio -- five-time collaborators whose latest work, The Wolf of Wall Street, has earned them each individual Oscar noms and an Oscar nom for best picture -- arrived to accept the Cinema Vanguard Award at the 29th Santa Barbara International Film Festival. The presentation of statuettes by Jonah Hill, another Wolf star and Oscar nominee, was preceded by a conversation with the honorees, moderated by The Hollywood Reporter's chief film critic Todd McCarthy, about how they met and work together.

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Santa Barbara Film Fest: Oprah Comes Home, Self-Deprecatingly Reflects on 'Body of Work'

Santa Barbara Film Fest: Oprah Comes Home, Self-Deprecatingly Reflects on 'Body of Work'

SANTA BARBARA – The 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Montecito Award was presented on Wednesday evening to Montecito's most celebrated resident, Oprah Winfrey, before a capacity crowd at Santa Barbara's historic Arlington Theatre.

Almost immediately upon dancing onto the stage and taking her seat across from the moderator, Los Angeles Times columnist John Horn, Winfrey, who turned 60 last week, made light of the fact that she was receiving an award for her collective cinematic "body of work." She openly acknowledged that it encompasses fewer than a half-dozen films over 29 years — The Color Purple (1985), Native Son (1986), Beloved (1998) and Lee Daniels' The Butler (2013), plus three animated films for which she voiced characters — and that she's not entirely proud of all of those. Instead, she said, she saw the evening as a warm embrace from her neighbors — and one that will inspire her to do her best at whatever film-related endeavor comes next, be it "acting, producing — or maybe even directing," she teased.

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Oscar Breakdown: Best Supporting Actress

Oscar Breakdown: Best Supporting Actress

Prior to the 86th Oscars on March 2, THR's awards analyst Scott Feinberg will present an eight-part series of posts breaking down the key facts and figures pertaining to each of the "big eight" Oscar categories. (For his predictions, see the weekly "Feinberg Forecast" post.) This post focuses on the best supporting actress Oscar race.

And the nominees for the best supporting actress Oscar at the 86th Oscars are...

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Santa Barbara Film Fest: Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, Jared Leto and June Squibb Feted

Santa Barbara Film Fest: Michael B. Jordan, Brie Larson, Jared Leto and June Squibb Feted

SANTA BARBARA – Neither the absence of three of the night's seven honorees nor the presence of a heckler could dampen the 29th annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival's Virtuoso Award evening, which celebrates individuals who gave breakthrough performances of one sort or another during the previous year. (This year's crop ranged in age from 19 to 84 — clearly, breakthroughs can happen at any time in one's life!)

The four honorees on hand — Fruitvale Station's Michael B. Jordan, Short Term 12's Brie Larson, Dallas Buyers Club's Jared Leto and Nebraska's June Squibb — participated in individual Q&As with moderator Dave Karger of Fandango.com, who is always great, followed by a group Q&A and then the presentation of the awards themselves by the legendary actor Christopher Lloyd, a Santa Barbara local.

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New Billboard Urges Oscar Voters to Consider 'Wolf of Wall Street' -- 'Because It's Awesome'

New Billboard Urges Oscar Voters to Consider 'Wolf of Wall Street' -- 'Because It's Awesome'

The best picture Oscar race is a three-horse race between 12 Years a Slave, American Hustle and Gravity, and the best actor race has already been won by Dallas Buyers Club's Matthew McConaughey, right? Don't tell that to Paramount Pictures, the studio behind Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, which has decided to make a major play for wins in the best picture and best actor categories -- not least of all by putting up four massive billboards around Hollywood on Tuesday as part of an effort to remind voters how much they liked the film and Leonardo DiCaprio's performance.

(Separately, Paramount is also pushing the best picture nominee Nebraska and its leading man, Bruce Dern.)

PHOTOS: Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio Spill Candid Stories on the Making of 'The Wolf of Wall Street'

While three of the billboards make serious proclamations -- "THE MOVIE OF OUR TIME," "BOLD BRAVE CLASSIC" and "HIS BEST PERFORMANCE EVER" (featuring a picture of DiCaprio) -- a fourth, which can be seen at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and La Cienega Boulevard in Hollywood, is more tongue-in-cheek and, to me at least, laugh-out-loud funny. Over an image of DiCaprio and best supporting actor nominee Jonah Hill celebrating, it simply proclaims: "BECAUSE IT'S AWESOME."

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'12 Years a Slave' Debuts Historic DVD Extras (Exclusive Video)

'12 Years a Slave' Debuts Historic DVD Extras (Exclusive Video)

12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen's big screen version of 19th century American slave Solomon Northup's 1841 autobiography, will be released by Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment on Digital HD on Feb. 18 and on DVD and Blu-ray on March 4 -- two days after the 86th Academy Awards -- accompanied in those formats by several educational extras, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned.

THR is pleased to exclusively premiere a teaser of one of them (above): "A Historical Portrait," a documentary about how the film came together and the book that inspired it, featuring readings from the latter by the star of the former, Chiwetel Ejiofor. The special feature will appear solely on the film's Blu-ray edition.

STORY: '12 Years a Slave' Oscar Nominee to Direct ABC Pilot

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Telluride vs. Toronto: Forced to Pick One Fest or Other, Where Will Filmmaker Loyalties Fall?

Telluride vs. Toronto: Forced to Pick One Fest or Other, Where Will Filmmaker Loyalties Fall?

Over the last four decades, many of the world's greatest filmmakers have unveiled their films on "the Telluride-Toronto circuit."

In other words, they sneak-screened their new films at the Telluride Film Festival, a small gathering of cineastes that has taken place every Labor Day weekend since 1973 in a remote ski resort town high in the Rocky Mountains, and then headed north of the border to the Toronto International Film Festival, which has grown into one of the largest film festivals in the world since its first installment in 1975, for an "official" North American or world premiere.

Films that were unveiled in such a manner include The Crying Game, Brokeback Mountain, Walk the Line, Juno, Slumdog Millionaire and The King's Speech.

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Oscar Breakdown: The Best Original Screenplay Race

Oscar Breakdown: The Best Original Screenplay Race

Prior to the 86th Oscars on March 2, THR's awards analyst Scott Feinberg will present an eight-part series of posts breaking down the key facts and figures pertaining to each of the "big eight" Oscar categories. (For his predictions, see the weekly "Feinberg Forecast" post.) This post focuses on the best original screenplay Oscar race.

Some stories go from the page to the screen in a year; others take 20 years. Some scripts adhere closely to the real events that inspired them; others merely use those events as a creative jumping-off point. Some stories look at the complications of life in the present day; others imagine what they might be in the not-too-distant future. And some feel as though they are set in a world to which we cannot relate; others feel eminently relatable and timeless. These are the five nominees for this year's best original screenplay Oscar.

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Animators, Cinematographers, Writers Groups Reveal Winners on Busy Night (Analysis)

Animators, Cinematographers, Writers Groups Reveal Winners on Busy Night (Analysis)

The first night of February was one of the busiest of the 2013-2014 awards season. On Saturday, while Blue Jasmine's Cate Blanchett was being honored at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival two hours north of Hollywood, no fewer than three guilds with corresponding Oscar categories — the Writers Guild of America, the American Society of Cinematographers and the International Animated Film Association — dished out their own year-end accolades back in town. And Her, Frozen and Gravity, in particular, headed into Super Bowl Sunday with plenty of reasons to feel happy about their Oscar prospects.

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