More than just a lunch, for those in the industry, it's an occasion to "mingle". The event often creates a fascinating mix of film stars and newcomers, as nominees are often seated with a range of people from films that aren't necessarily their own. One table had Amy Adams, Black Panther costume designer Ruth E Carter and Bao director Domee Shi. Another had Lady Gaga, Black Panther producer Kevin Feige, jazz trumpeter Terence Blanchard, nominated for BlacKkKlansman, and Hale County This Morning, This Evening director RaMell Ross.
Prepare for a slick ceremony at the 2019 Academy Awards
Producers told nominees they will have 90 seconds from the time their name is called to the moment their speech will need to end. The sprint is necessary in order to keep the February 24 ceremony to three hours, John Bailey, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President, said at the lunch.
"It means you can hit the parties by 8.15pm," Oscars producer Glenn Weiss joked to the room.
Weiss and his co-producer Donna Gigliotti demonstrated their ideal acceptance speech – Steven Soderbergh accepting the best director award for Traffic and promising to offer individual thanks in private, not public – and implored nominees to speak from the heart and not a sheet of paper.
"The thing is, run," said director Brad Bird, who has learned from experience. "Then keep your speeches short and simple as possible ... and then you get out alive."