‘Barbie’: Margot Robbie, Greta Gerwig, Dua Lipa snubbed by Oscars
“Barbie” got eight Oscars nominations including best picture, but USA TODAY film critic Brian Truitt says the movie was snubbed in other categories.
LOS ANGELES − The annual Oscars nominees luncheon has literally gone to the dogs. And it’s glorious.
Last year, “Top Gun: Maverick” star and producer Tom Cruise was the most buzzed-about celebrity at the annual schmooze-fest, with social media exploding when Cruise met up with “Elvis” star Austin Butler.
This year, the most adored (and frankly, most petted) attendee at Monday’s Beverly Hilton event honoring the 2024 Oscar nominees was Messi, a 7-year-old border collie and the canine star of “Anatomy of a Fall.”
Messi, who plays the widely acclaimed and pivotal role of Snoop in the French courtroom drama, was not even nominated for an Oscar on account of being a dog. But Messi was the star everyone wanted to be seen with as “Maestro” best actor nominee Bradley Cooper fanboyed and purple-clad “Barbie” star Ryan Gosling popped over to Messi’s table to pay respects.
For a big shot, Messi was a good dog, though USA TODAY did notice an undisguised yawn during the nearly three-hour event. The pooch had flown in from his Paris home for four days of promotion for the film, which is nominated for five Oscars, including best picture.
“Americans love dogs, and everyone loves Messi,” said producer David Thion. “He’s just an amazing dog.”
What time do the Oscars start? The stars were surprised to find out
The annual luncheon is an opportunity to celebrate being nominated before the trophies are given out live on the 96th Academy Awards (7 p.m. ET/4 PT March 10 on ABC), hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. Of the 205 nominees, 179 (including four representatives from countries nominated for best international film) filled the ballroom for a vegan lunch of king oyster mushrooms over risotto.
Before the event officially started, “Maestro” star Carey Mulligan showed off iPhone photos to “Oppenheimer” stars Emily Blunt and Robert Downey Jr., who attended with wife Susan Downey. Across the room, “Barbie” star Margot Robbie, in a sparkling pink suit with a bare midriff, talked about post-Oscar plans with husband Tom Ackerley before joining fellow nominees including “Barbie” writer and director Greta Gerwig. Gosling was the last star to show up, sliding in just before the food was served.
Janet Yang, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, reminded nominees of the early new start time for the Oscars − an hour earlier than normal. Adding to the pressure for those attending: Oscar Sunday is when daylight saving time starts, pushing clocks forward an hour.
“Losing that hour of sleep will be well worth it, we promise,” said Yang, as the audience audibly groaned. “I can see everyone is sort of recalibrating.”
Yang ended her remarks with the perennial appeal to keep the Oscar speeches meaningful and short. Winners will have 45 seconds upon reaching the podium to speak (before the dreaded march-off music begins).
“In case you forget someone, there will be a ‘thank you camera’ backstage where you can thank everyone you want,” said Yang. “And there is no time limit there.”
The lunch ended with a 2024 Oscar class photo. One by one, the nominated stars were called to line up on risers for a group shot. “Oppenheimer” star Robert Downey Jr., nominated for best supporting actor, was the last name called, joining the group with a triumphant smile.
Diane Warren, nominated for the song “The Fire Inside” from “Flamin’ Hot,” has attended the luncheon nine times out of the past 10 years in a career that has seen her nominated 15 times (without a competitive Oscar win). Warren said she had a great time chatting with “American Fiction” star Sterling K. Brown as they stood and was surprised to see “The Color Purple” and “Maestro” producer Steven Spielberg taking a picture of her from his location.
“This never gets old,” Warren told USA TODAY. “If you’re here at this event, you’re a winner. You’re a winner all the way until March 10, and then you’re a loser. But you’re not really a loser, because just being nominated means you’re one of only five people in your field chosen. So we really celebrate that here.”