Nominees Night 2014: THR Celebrates Oscar Hopefuls With Star-Packed Soiree
UPDATED: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong'o, David O. Russell and Alfonso Cuaron were among the contenders feted at the annual Nominees Night party at Spago on Feb. 10.
The Hollywood Reporter's Nominees Night kicked off in full swing with Oscar hopefuls and top studio executives and producers filling Wolfgang Puck's Beverly Hills hotspot Spago on Feb. 10.
Hosted by Janice Min, co-president/chief creative officer of the Entertainment Group of Guggenheim Media, and Lynne Segall, THR senior vp and publisher, the industry's top talent enjoyed the evening following the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences nominees luncheon earlier in the day.
Nominees Leonardo DiCaprio, Jared Leto, Lupita Nyong'o, Bruce Dern, David O. Russell, Alfonso Cuaron, Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), 12 Years a Slave screenwriter John Ridley, Steve Coogan, June Squibb and Frozen co-director Jennifer Lee let loose, while DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg caught up with media mogul Sumner Redstone by the fireplace inside the intimate soiree. Richard Linklater, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke, the trio behind Oscar-nominated screenplay Before Midnight, didn't stray far.
Producer Harvey Weinstein, who's been busy this awards season with August: Osage County, Philomena and Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, gave his stamp of approval. "The nominees lunch and THR's Nominees Night are the highlights of course!" he told THR.
Veteran actress Cloris Leachman; Philomena Lee, the real-life inspiration for Philomena; and Fox Searchlight president Nancy Utley also mingled with the nominees. Meanwhile, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos was deep in conversation with Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan, while Betsy Brandt took in the festivities.
Leto, a best supporting actor nominee for his turn as Rayon in Dallas Buyers Club, was reflective about his first Academy Award nomination. "It feels like a gift," he told THR, suited up in a sleek silver Lanvin blazer. "With the history of the Academy and the performances, I've been inspired by so many different people that are nominated this year. It's a great year for cinema."
An Armani-clad DiCaprio -- surrounded by partygoers inside the bash -- had high praise for The Wolf of Wall Street director Martin Scorsese, with whom he has collaborated on five films. "It's amazing -- it's amazing the energy he brought to it," the 39-year-old told THR.
Spike Jonze, whose film Her is nominated for five Oscars, celebrated the competition, tipping his cap to fellow best picture nominees American Hustle, The Wolf of Wall Street and Nebraska. In a candid moment, Jonze took a photo of THR's David O. Russell cover and texted it to the American Hustle helmer, who had a laugh about it moments later.
"We help each other a lot. He always makes me think, 'What's the most deep, emotional thing that I can try to show about a character that I haven't thought of?' and also 'What is the most exciting way that I haven't thought of to try and shoot it?' " Russell told THR. "He's a very, very good, tough reader and has been since Three Kings."
Gravity director Cuaron admitted to THR that there were times he felt like he had to give up, but "you just keep on going." "The process of making the film mirrors the process of our main character," he said, "and it was that process of adversity and freedom, so it was interesting how one thing was informing the other."
Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O, an Oscar nominee for best original song for "The Moon Song," took the stage for her multisong set and dedicated the performance to her good friend and frequent collaborator Jonze. Just feet away, Hawke took in every word, while Russell captured the moment with numerous selfies.
The entertainment continued deep into the evening with a lively set by Cee Lo Green that got many of the nominees up and dancing, including Nyong'o, in Valentino Couture, and Karen O. Also taking in Green's performance was Puck, returning as master chef of the Governors Ball.
Earlier in the evening, a vibrant Nyong'o joked to THR that she was going to ask best original song nominee "Pharrell [ Williams] if I can borrow his hat for the Oscars."
Last year's Nominees Night bash attracted Jennifer Lawrence, Ben Affleck, Steven Spielberg, Jessica Chastain, Naomi Watts and Amy Adams, with Snoop Dogg behind the turntables.
This year's event party kicked off at 7 p.m. and was sponsored by Cadillac, Bing, PANDORA Jewelry, Delta Air Lines, Qua and Zenith Watches. Guests were invited to submit their pick for best picture at the special onsite voting station hosted by Bing.
Cadillac, the official vehicle of Nominees Night, provided car service for VIP guests, and also presented the dessert station inside the event. Guests received Tumi amenity kits as party gifts.
Bryn Sandberg contributed to this report.