As Oscar season approaches, there's little to do besides scrutinize the possible recipients of America's revered sexless statuette. Before the hoards of Hollywood legends are summoned to rejoice, to weep, to thank the sound editor and the catering company and Mom and God for having lit the path to the Holocaust movie for which they emaciated themselves and learned conversational Yiddish, they first have to participate in a host of preparatory activities. Hence, the Academy's luncheon/support group for the nominees.
Nominees in the actors' categories got all kinds of cozy together: America's favorite paradigms of middle-aged hunk, Brad Pitt and George Clooney, joined their French equivalent, Jean Dujardin, in a collision of hotness more cataclysmic than any activity from the Large Hadron Collider. To take this simile further, the above photo of Dujardin napping on Clooney's shoulder is the tabloid equivalent of one of those tiny Swiss black holes everyone was so freaked out about.
Other attendees included Viola Davis, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Michelle Williams, Rooney Mara, Bérénice Béjo, and, of course, Our Dear Meryl. A class photo was taken, and, like an elementary-school orientation, behavioral advice was given: producer Brian Grazer warned candidates against getting too excited and trotting onstage when the announcer has actually called another candidate's name.
They likewise reasserted the forty-five-second acceptance speech rule, for all of those longwinded polytheists out there with a gaggle of gods responsible for getting a win for War Horse. After the class rules were laid down, the nominees, of course, were able to eat.
Details are still murky, but rumors are flying that Viola Davis was unwilling to trade her Valentino Ritz Bits for Dujardin's Vera Wang Slim Jim. Streep allegedly threw a tantrum over a stolen Prada Snack Pack, and held "such doubts" until said pudding was later found in Gary Oldman's lunchbox. Oldman was duly disciplined by Academy President Tom Sherak.