Oscar Nominees Luncheon: Food, Fashion and Who's the Favorite

From the press room: James Franco, Natalie Portman, Nicole Kidman and the rest of the leading contenders on what they're looking forward to on Hollywood's biggest night

Natalie Portman hates to be asked what she's wearing. James Franco knows he only got tapped to host the Oscars because he's young. Jeff Bridges realizes he's going to lose to Colin Firth. 

Those are just a few of the nuggets gleaned from the press room of Monday's Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hilton. 

From Nicole Kidman to Amy Adams, this year's awards contenders took time out from red carpet walking and cocktail sipping to open up about Oscar-night looks, getting into character and what lies in store for the big event. 

Sure, for the most part, the biggest stars in Hollywood offered up umpteenth variations on "it's so exciting," but there was a smattering of unguarded moments in between all the gripping and grinning.  

Here's a sample of some of the best responses:

James Franco, nominated for Best Actor, "127 Hours"

On why he was picked to host the Oscars: "There's a little bit of the old, and a little bit of the new. It was funny to me when the announcement was made, because the reacition was 'this is an obvious ploy by the Academy to bring in younger viewers,' and it was like. 'Yeah, duh. Is that a bad thing?

"Anne (Hathaway) and (my) role is to bridge the gap between the older generation and the younger generation."

Natalie Portman, nominated for Best Actress, "Black Swan"

On what she's wearing: "It’s certainly all about leaving space for growth, but it is always surprising that’s become the conversation instead of the movies now — What are you wearing?"

Jeff Bridges, nominated for Best Actor, "True Grit"

On becoming a regular Oscar contender: "It’s kind of a double-edged sword. For actors anonymity is a wonderful thing and I’m losing on that end, but the fame gives me a little more power for me to bring interest to things that I think deserve interest."

Nicole Kidman, nominated for Best Actress, "Rabbit Hole"

On the role her daughter Sunday Rose plays in deciding her Oscar look: "Sunday Rose has a pretty strong opinion, and she chooses what she calls 'pretty dresses.' She has a strong voice in what I’ll be wearing on the night of the Oscars. Fingers crossed, I could be wearing a tutu."

Michelle Williams, nominated for Best Actress, "Blue Valentine"

On Oscar snubbing her co-star Ryan Gosling: "I just said when I walked in that I missed him, but there’s lots of other friendly faces here."

Annette Bening, nominated for Best Actress, "The Kids Are All Right"

On the film's pro-gay marriage message: "If you can open people's hearts first then maybe people’s minds get opened after that…I'm proud that this movie stands up for the digntiy of all families. In our country we’ve got a big tent and we can let everybody in."

Helena Bonham Carter, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, "The King's Speech"

On when she'll decide on a dress: "It’s right up to the last minute. It can go wrong at any time."

Amy Adams, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, "The Fighter"

On the real life inspiration for her character: "I was able to meet Charlene. She was awesome. She didn’t give me any advice, but she did ask me not to wear the fishnets."

John Hawkes, nominated for Best Supporting Actor, "Winter's Bone"

On why the awards attention scares him: "I would be lying if I said it didn't make me a little nervous that I’ll blow my cover. For 20 years, I've been an actor that people didn't know, and I think it’s a little easier to be an actor that people don’t know."

Hailee Steinfeld, nominated for Best Supporting Actress, "True Grit"

On what it means to be nominated: "Being cast in such an incredible film to me was such an incredible reward, so this is just incredible."