Oscar Nominees Luncheon

Greg Harbaugh/©A.M.P.A.S.

Even Woody Allen and Terrence Malick -- who were, no surprise, no-shows -- would have felt at home.

It's yearbook time: 151 of this year's 188 Academy Awards nominees posed for a class photo Feb. 6 at the Beverly Hilton. With its everyone-is-a-winner atmosphere, the Academy's 31st annual luncheon makes for the most genial affair on the Oscar schedule. Tom Hanks appeared in a short video with acceptance-speech tips (lose the list!), Glenn Close worried that Martin Scorsese would get lost in the back row, all the nominees were applauded as they came up to collect their official nomination certificates, and the champagne flowed. 

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Many of the actors at this year's Oscar nominees luncheon were veterans of the event: Glenn Close recalled her first, when she was nominated for 1982's The World According to Garp: "There were people hyperventilating about winning! I thought being one of five was already very lucky." Kenneth Branagh, a five-time nominee, had never attended before. "I couldn't make it to the lunch because I was always working. Now I'll have this year's class picture to recall how ridiculous I'll look in it." Two-time nominee Michelle Williams' advice to newbies on the big night: "Pack a snack. Always bring a granola bar." And Viola Davis, previously nominated for 2008's Doubt, warned Octavia Spencer: "Try to have your next job lined up. The day after the Oscars, it gets very quiet." First-timers Melissa McCarthy and Demian Bichir were still pinching themselves. Said McCarthy, "I keep thinking I'm going to get that call that says, 'We're joking!' " -- Merle Ginsberg

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