George Clooney loaned out his villa for Viola Davis’ honeymoon and other nuggets gleaned from the annual gathering
Oscar nominne Rooney Mara got her nipple pierced for all those "Dragon Tattoo" nude scenes; Brad Pitt is the Bobby Fischer of practical jokes; and Viola Davis spent her honeymoon at George Clooney's Lake Como villa.
Those are just a few of the nuggets gleaned from Monday's Academy Awards Nominees Luncheon at the Beverly Hills Hilton.
Also read: Oscar Nominees: The Complete List
The stars took a break from snacking on sesame tuna wontons and California rolls and working the red carpet to dish on what their nominations meant to them, who they hoped to see win (besides themselves!) and what they planned to wear on the big night.
It was the 31st such gathering for the Academy Awards. This year’s luncheon was expected to draw 150 nominees, including 18 of the 20 nominated actors.
George Clooney, best actor nominee for “The Descendants”
On competing with Brad Pitt: “The truth is we’re buddies, and I just really enjoy being around him and seeing him.”
On fellow nominee Demian Bichir (“A Better Life”): “His is one of the great stories, because this is a career changer for him.”
On why he’s rooting for his “The Descendants” director Alexander Payne: “I have great affection for him. He’s done five films and he hasn’t done a bad one… he’s got the best track record in the business.”
Rooney Mara, best actress nominee for “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
On the possibility of a sequel: “I’m signed up for the other two. Hopefully they will do them. I think they will, but I’m not sure when.”
On her decision to keep her nipple pierced: “I don’t want to re-pierce it should we do the other two films.”
On her onscreen nudity: “I spent so much time in this film naked… there wasn’t any time for me to be shy about that… I always felt I was in costume.”
Brad Pitt, best actor nominee for “Moneyball”
On who he has met on the awards circuit: “I met this guy named Jorge Clooney. He’s a very nice guy, personable.”
The meaning of “Moneyball”: “For us, it was the story of value and getting second chances. Of people who are devalued by their occupation and their surroundings and may have worth.”
Viola Davis best actress nominee for “The Help”
On getting dressed up for awards shows: “If you guys could see me when I’m at home with my cornrows. I am not a glam women. This definitely is a mask that I put on for the public.”
On borrowing George Clooney’s villa for her honeymoon: “It’s like the greatest gift anyone could have given us. It was so romantic and so generous of him. It’s not like George and I hang out. I mean I like the guy…”
Octavia Spencer, best supporting actress for “The Help”
On how her choice of roles have changed since "The Help": “I like reading roles that are substantive…it’s great to not just have the ‘he went that a way role.’”
On her first nomination: “I’m of the mindset that this is my first time to the party, so I’m going to enjoy every aspect of it. The smile is real.”
Michelle Williams, best actress nominee for “My Week with Marilyn”
The one question she would want to ask Marilyn Monroe: “There’s not one burning question in my heart. I’d just want to listen to what she’d want to say.”
What she’s learned from past Oscar shows: “Definitely bring a snack. Pack a granola bar.”
Jonah Hill, best supporting actor nominee for “Moneyball”
On co-star Brad Pitt’s penchant for practical jokes: “I call him the Bobby Fischer of pranks, because you try to prank him and he’s already three steps ahead of you…it’s a masterful artform with this guy.”
Gary Oldman, best actor nominee for “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
On being Oscar-nominated for the first time: “I’m deeply honored to be part of it, and I’ve decided just to completly embrace it. I’m having the time of my life. It’s a fairytale.
On if he prefers to get money or awards for his work: “The Oscar is better than the money. The villains are the ones you do for money.”
Melissa McCarthy, best supporting actress nominee for “Bridesmaids”
On what “Bridesmaids” meant to her career: “I still have that mentality of ‘I have a job. I don't have to wait tables again.’”
Glenn Close, best actress nominee for "Albert Nobbs"
On her decades-long struggle to get “Albert Nobbs” to the screen: “I’m a yankee… I’ve got stonewalls in my veins… I’m really proud that I didn’t [give up], and I’m proud of the little movie that we made.”
Jean Dujardin, best actor nominee for “The Artist”
On what he likes best about working in Los Angeles: “The food, the energy of the city”
Demian Bichir, best actor nominee for “A Better Life”
On how his life has changed with the nomination: “It’s really weird. I was talking to Brad and George over there. I was like ‘what?’… Just to be part of those names in an industry with so much talent, that makes the whole thing an incredible honor.”
Max Von Sydow, best supporting actor nominee for “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close”
On what his nomination means: “It moves me, because who are these people that nominate you? It is your colleagues and they obviously should know something about your craft, and if they think you’re good, it’s wonderful.”