The Oscars bring the stars together in Los Angeles
The biggest stars, from Steven Spielberg to Will Smith and the Bhutanese director Pawo Choyning Dorji, the candidates for the Oscars were happily reunited on Monday, March 7, in a large hotel in Los Angeles, after a long interruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The annual luncheon organized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which awards the Oscars, had been cancelled last year, but the international stars were back on Monday afternoon, March 7.
At the hotel bar, Javier Bardem and Penelope Cruz were chatting with Guillermo del Toro and Maggie Gyllenhaal while, not far from there, Denzel Washington was taking pictures for a long line of admirers.
“If there’s ever a time to be grateful and rejoice in an opportunity to be in the same room, ladies and gentlemen, it’s this year,” said Will Packer, who will produce the 94th Academy Awards on March 27.
At last year’s Oscars, America’s most beloved film ceremony was held in Los Angeles’ Central Station, with nominees rubbing shoulders only in the open air and taking turns on stage during the show.
This year, the gala evening will be almost normal and will return to the traditional Dolby Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard and its red carpets.
Benedict Cumberbatch, star of the film The Power of the Dog in the running for the Oscar for best feature film, the supreme award, told AFP he was “happy to continue to beat the drum” of votes for this dark western in the final stretch of voting. Especially since the film’s director, Jane Campion, could not be present after testing positive for COVID-19.
“I believe this film will stand the test of time,” said the British artist, himself a Best Actor Oscar nominee for his role as a troubled cowboy.
Nominated in the category of the best director, Jane Campion is “well” and does not feel any symptoms, he said.
The team of the film CODA, a remake of the French film La Famille Bélier which features a deaf family and their hearing daughter, was also present.
The independent film won the top prize at the SAG Awards in late February, which are given by the American actors’ union and usually carry a lot of weight in the Oscar race.
“We’re a very tight-knit cast, so it was wonderful to receive such an award, and very unexpected,” said one of its stars, the young Emilia Jones.
The film premiered – via the Internet because of the pandemic – at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2021, which means CODA’s cast is campaigning against competitors whose films were released “months after ours.”
Also among the international stars is the author of The School at the End of the World, an astonishing film from Bhutan, a small country in the Himalayan peaks whose first appearance at the Oscars.
The feature film was presented at the 2021 edition but was not selected at that time for technical reasons.
Its director, Pawo Choyning Dorji, assured that he “thought it was a mistake” when he learned of the film’s nomination. “I just cried when I met Jessica Chastain,” added his wife, producer Stephanie Lai, sitting at the table next to the star of “In the Eyes of Tammy Faye, a favorite for the best actress Oscar.