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Oscar nominees Justin Timberlake, Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, Jeff Bridges, Isabelle Huppert, Damien Chazelle, Denis Villeneuve, Barry Jenkins, Theodore Melfi and Dev Patel were among those who turned out for The Hollywood Reporter’s fifth annual Nominees Night party at Spago in Beverly Hills on Monday.
Moana star Auli’i Cravalho, comedian Billy Eichner, iconic actress Faye Dunaway, Jackie star Caspar Phillipson, Hidden Figures‘ Glen Powell, Toni Erdmann director Maren Ade, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hell or High Water‘s Gil Birmingham, CBS Films chief Terry Press, DreamWorks Animation chief Bonnie Arnold and Manchester by the Sea producer Kimberly Steward joined numerous other A-listers at the glittery affair held in honor of the actors, filmmakers and other nominees who will be feted at the Oscars on Feb. 26.
American Airlines, Citi and Rotten Tomatoes sponsored the lavish event, which featured custom cocktail menus and a specially crafted dessert station designed by Spago pastry chef Della Gossett, a 3D GIF photo booth and two “cigarette girl” models passing around trays of gourmet movie concessions whipped up by Gossett.
Timberlake, who sported a suit by designer Tom Ford, is a first-time Oscar nominee for his song “Can’t Stop the Feeling” from the animated feature Trolls. The singer/actor dished to The Hollywood Reporter’s awards analyst Scott Feinberg on the blue carpet about his plans for the big night. “We’ll try to sneak a flask in,” the star said.
While Harris was undoubtedly excited for her Oscar nomination, she did divulge that meeting Timberlake earlier that day was also a big moment. “I was with my best friend and we were like, ‘Oh my God,'” the actress shared with THR.
Inside, guests dined on a sampling of sushi, sipped signature cocktails from martini glasses and champagne flutes and mingled near a roaring fireplace. The party may have been a bit too raucous for Dunaway, who was spotted hopping into an Uber early in the night.
Janice Min, outgoing president and chief creative officer of The Hollywood Reporter-Billboard Media Group, chatted with Huppert, while editorial director Matthew Belloni was seen in a booth with Timberlake and Abdul-Jabbar.
Min and Belloni introduced an acoustic performance by R&B star and Grammy nominee Aloe Blacc, who rocked the crowd with a set including his hit songs “I Need a Dollar,” “The Man,” and “Wake Me Up.” Blacc joins a list of past performers at the soiree that includes Sam Smith, who performed at last year’s event, Cee-Lo Green, Snoop Dogg and Karen O.
Following Blacc’s performance, rapper Wiz Khalifa surprised the audience with a guest DJ set, performing under the moniker DJ Daddy Kat. Khalifa’s surprise appearance came on the heels of his recent DJ set alongside Snoop Dogg at Super Bowl LI in Houston on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Oscar nominees at the party were celebrating their Academy recognition. “It is so cool that we were nominated,” Moana‘s Cravalho said. The 16-year-old’s film earned a best original song and best animated feature nomination. When asked which of her fellow nominees she was most excited to meet, she said Meryl Streep topped the list. “I’d like to tell her thank you,” Cravalho said.
Cravalho wasn’t the only one to gush over Streep. Davis also dished on the legendary actress, whom she introduced a few weeks ago at the Golden Globes for her now-infamous lifetime achievement award acceptance speech. “I wanted to take my shoes off, hoot and holler and be not as cultured as I am,” said Davis. Of her nomination for Fences, the third of her career, Davis said, “Feb. 27 is coming, the day after the Oscars. That’s when the phone calls stop, the flowers stop. You should enjoy it.”
Also in attendance were Oscar-nominated Hell or High Water screenwriter Taylor Sheridan, Hidden Figures director Theodore Melfi, co-chief of Sony Pictures Classics Michael Barker, celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck, 8-year-old Lion star Sunny Pawar, Piers Morgan, SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris, Gersh Agency co-president Bob Gersh, Hacksaw Ridge producer David Permut, Lion director Garth Davis, Producers Guild of America president Gary Lucchesi, actress Emmanuelle Chriqui and Kubo and the Two Strings director Travis Knight, up for a best animated film Oscar. Pawar stole the show on the red carpet in his green sneakers and sports coat when he received an honorary toy Oscar from THR.
“Sunny is the man of the hour,” Patel said of his Lion co-star. “I stood on his tiny, but sturdy, shoulders.”
The Lion cast sat together, with Pawar sitting on the bar for a prime view of the festivities.
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