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Oscars 2019: Nominees gather for civilised luncheon before the battle begins

Lady Gaga, Rami Malek and Bradley Cooper mingle, while the Academy announces Chris Evans, Awkwafina and Constance Wu as presenters.

Oscars 2019: Nominees gather for civilised luncheon before the battle begins

Lady Gaga arrives for lunch. (Photo: AFP / Robyn Beck)

It was the calm before the storm, as nominees for the 91st Academy Awards came together Monday afternoon (Feb 5, Singapore time) for the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Of this year’s 212 nominees, 171 of them were in attendance, including A Star Is Born’s Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper, Bohemian Rhapsody’s Rami Malek, Vice’s Amy Adams, The Wife’s Glenn Close, Roma’s Alfonso Cuaron and BlacKkKlansman’s Spike Lee.

The luncheon is a chance for nominees to get to know one another before the awards ceremony. Voting to pick the winners begins Feb 12.

The ceremony itself has been embroiled in controversy this year – almost constantly. From a proposed “popular film” award that was widely mocked, to comedian Kevin Hart stepping down as host of the Oscars amid outcry over homophobic jokes from his past, to a reported attempt to only have two of the five nominees for original song performed during the telecast, this year’s Academy Awards just can’t seem to catch a break.

There is still no host for the show. While the issue wasn’t addressed at the luncheon, Variety reports that an Academy source confirmed there will, in fact, be no emcee – making it the first in 30 years to go on without a host.

Nevertheless, to assure the audience of the evening’s entertainment star wattage, the Academy announced the first round of presenters, including Chris Evans, Awkwafina, Constance Wu, Daniel Craig, Jennifer Lopez, Amy Poehler and Charlize Theron.

All five original song nominees will also be represented. Jennifer Hudson will perform I'll Fight from RGB, Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper for Shallow from A Star Is Born, Gillian Welch for When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings from The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, and a "surprise special guest" will take over performance duties from Mary Poppins Returns star Emily Blunt for The Place Where Lost Things Go.

It has not yet been confirmed if Kendrick Lamar and SZA will be on hand to perform All The Stars from Black Panther.

The 91st Oscars will be held on Sunday, Feb 24 (Feb 25 morning, Singapore time) at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.

Source: CNA/pw