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Oscar nominees honoured at Beverly Hills luncheon

Jason Korsner reporting from Los Angeles. Photos available at http://www.ukscreen.com/gallery.htm?user=jkinla
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More than a hundred and forty nominees for the seventy ninth Academy Awards – and special award winners – attended the annual Oscar Nominees’ Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton hotel, on Monday.
The event is one of the more informal gatherings of the awards calendar, enabling the stars to turn up, pose for some photographers and greet fans in a relaxed atmosphere, before settling down to a meal of smoked salmon, chicken breasts and sorbets.
Four of the five leading actor nominees turned up: Leonardo DiCaprio (Blood Diamon), Peter O’Toole (Venus), Will Smith (Pursuit of Happyness) and Forest Whitaker (Last King of Scotland). Four of the five supporting actor nominees were there too: Alan Arkin (LIttle Miss Sunshine), Djimon Hounsou (Blood Diamond), Eddie Murphy (Dreamgirls) and Mark Wahlberg (Departed).
There was not such a good attendance from the actresses though. Just Dame Helen Mirren (Queen) and Penelope Cruz (Volver) were there to represent the leading actresses, while Adriana Barraza (Babel), Abigail Breslin (Little Miss Sunshine) and Jennifer Hudson (Dreamgirls) were the supporting actress nominees.
In the directing category, two-time winner Clint Eastwood (Letters from Iwo Jima), Martin Scorsese (Departed, which won him the Directors Guild of America award…which often predicts the Oscar winner) and Alejandro González Iñárritu (Babel) were there. Producers whose films were nominated in for Best Picture included Steven Spielberg, who helped Clint Eastwood make the Japanese perspective on his earlier film, Flags of Our Fathers.
Nominees in attendance from the best original screenplay category, included Paul Haggis (Letters from Iwo Jima), Peter Morgan (Queen), Michael Arndt (Little Miss Sunshine) and Guillermo del Toro (Pan’s Labyrinth), while Hawk Ostby (Children of Men) was among the best adapted screenplay nominees to turn up.
The luncheon is the only major gathering of nominees from across the categories, before the Oscar ceremony on February 25th 2007.

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