Oscar Nominee Gossip, Plus Napkins and Forks

In one camp, you have the people who are constantly bemoaning the fact that everything in Los Angeles operates at lightning speed, go-go-go, don't respect the past, tear down that building/career/actor and put something sparkling new in its place. And the other camp flat-out doesn't buy it. And while we certainly agree that LA is cutting-edge and prone to jumping to tomorrow, often at the expense of today, there are traditions here that get observed year after year, especially surrounding the film industry.

Take, for example, the annual Oscars Nominee Luncheon, which took place on February 2, 2009 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. First of all, the word "luncheon" is deliciously 1955, and we hope some marketing honcho never decides to sexy it up with "Oscar Nominee Drinks and Appetizers" or the like. And second, the nominees, all major names who all have a lot of huge things going on -- film shoots, PR obligations, etc. -- actually show up in droves to chat with their peers, pose for photographers in casual-but-nice daytime outfits, and enjoy the limelight before the big, time-to-get-nervous night. Oh, and eat. You know that food is yummy, fresh and looks plenty fancy.

So who luncheoned this year? Amy Adams, Penelope Cruz, Kate Winslet, Anne Hathaway, Robert Downey Jr. and Frank Langella, just to cite a few of the nominated celebs. While so many stars look vaguely uncomfortable the night of the Academy Awards -- we always wonder what parts of those fabulous gowns are pinching where -- they're more dressed-down here, relaxed, and we would jump at the chance to catch a snippet of the gossip at the tables. Think they're making predictions among themselves while waiting for their iced teas (hold the lemon) to arrive? We do.

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