The luncheon was held at the Beverly Hilton, and began with some milling around (and cocktails) among the nominees and their guests. We knew we would sit at a "mixed table" for the lunch, meaning we could be with Producers, Actors, etc. We anxiously awaited who we might sit with, as we struggled to introduce ourselves to new people in the room. We saw some celebrities and I just couldn't resist asking a few for photos (but I'll save that for my Instagram account). Finally, they asked us to find our table. It was like a really fancy wedding, with gorgeous bunches of roses on the tables and waiters ready to pour your wine as soon as you sat down.
We took our seats, and met the people at our table. There was a producing team, four sound designers, and an Academy Ambassador, a member of the Academy who is there to facilitate conversation at the table and make the event really welcoming. Our Ambassador had the most adorable wife who had one agenda - to take photos with the most famous people in the room, to the bemusement of her husband. It was hilarious, and got me hyped to talk to the actors and musicians I wouldn't have otherwise (again, I refer to the Instagram).
They played a comedy video about how to give a good speech should you win, and there were words from the Academy President. Then they read the names of every nominee individually, and invited them to stand at the front for the "class photo" (Oliver is in the second row, second in from the oscar, to the left). This goes on for the better part of an hour and when everyone is there, the music crescendos and they announce, "Ladies and Gentleman, the Oscar Nominees of 2017". They know how to give you an emotional moment, in Hollywood, that's for sure.
When the photo ended, I was still snapping photos of them all when a man next to me said, "This is really special for them, isn't it?" I looked at him and said, "It's really special". He was an Academy Embassador, as well. Then I found Oliver, spoke to another actor I loved, and got in a cab to LAX.
When I had saw Oliver a few days later, he showed me a photo on his phone of his colleague Brian and said, "Look who Brian spoke to!" and I saw who it was. It was the same person who spoke to me when the class photo was being taken. It was Steven Spielberg, the most famous Director of all time, and I did not recognize him. I guess I thought all the most important people were standing at the front? Classic.
That aside, it was still a truly special afternoon, one we'll never forget. Now I'm in the process of sorting out my dress, and childcare, and all the other things that will come with attending an event fancier than anything I've ever been to. If this was a precursor to the excitement, I can't imagine what the events surrounding the ceremony will be like. What a wild ride.