Nominees Luncheon: Oscar Contenders Talk Red Carpet Ride

Bridges, Harrelson, Bullock and more talk trophy hunting and getting ready for the big day

Last Updated: February 15, 2010 @ 8:36 PM

Christoph Waltz admits his language skills help with seduction. Vera Farmiga urges flyers not to get behind her baby carriage during check-in. Woody Harrelson isn’t clearing off space on his trophy shelf. Carey Mulligan has been stalking Kathryn Bigelow and bumping asses with Tarantino.

These were just a few of the nuggets gleaned from Monday’s Oscar nominees luncheon at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Directors, actors, and actresses from several of the top films in contention for Academy Awards this year took time out from what was being billed as an informal get together (albeit it one with a red carpet and security worthy of a State of the Union address) to answer questions from a gaggle of reporters about the Oscar ride, getting into character and, of course, what they planned to wear on the big night.

While leaving their cocktails, ahi tuna won tons, and tandoori chicken in the main ballroom, nominees from Jeff Bridges to Sandra Bullock dropped the mingling to reflect on their hunt for the little golden guy (pics to come).

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

Jeff Bridges, nominated for best actor, "Crazy Heart"

(On his character, Bad Blake) "He doesn’t mean to be a bad guy, he’s just irresponsible. That’s just the path life has taken. I just follow the script and didn’t set out to make him likable."

Jeremy Renner, nominated for best actor, "The Hurt Locker"

(On what he learned about the military from working on the war drama) "I walk up to any military personnel now and shake their hand and thank them for their service…It means so much when they say ‘I show it to my wife or to my family to show them what it was like.’"

Colin Firth, nominated for best actor, "A Single Man"

(On why he took the part in designer Tom Ford’s directoral debut) "I read the script and thought, ‘I hope this is a great big style fest…I wanted be beautiful and lit well…unfortunately, I showed up and had to do alot of acting."

(On advice for young actors) "I don’t think anyone should ever ask actors for advice on anything. Just look at how we behave at times. We’re not exactly a paradigm for a good lifestyle."

Gabourey Sidibe, nominated for best actress, "Precious"

(On who she wanted to meet at the luncheon) "Steve Martin is the person I want to meet. My mom had a crush on Steve Martin and we used to watch ‘The Jerk’ every day. I’m excited that the show will be hosted by Jack Donaghy and the Jerk."

Sandra Bullock, nominated for best actress, "The Blind Side"

(On her mantra) "If I get up and I’m breathing and I’m happy, then I know it’s a good day. I have a post it note by the side of my bed and it says, ‘expect as good as you give.’"

(On what she will wear to the Oscars) "If I have to wear a trash bag, I’ll belt it with rhinestones and I’ll make it work."

(On her new approach to her career) "I’ve been blessed with crazy money, but it’s sometimes been attached to films that were not great….Now I feel that if there’s a project that has something worth saying, It feels fine to take it on the backend, even if you don’t get the crazy money."

Carey Mulligan, nominated for best actress, "An Education"

(On surreal awards show moments) "I’ve met crazy people, like Quentin Tarantino. I leaned back and we bumped asses."

(On if she uses awards shows for networking) "I’m not great at the mingling side of things, so I stand in the corner. I tend to follow Kathryn Bigelow around a lot, so I’m not sure if she noticed."

Kathryn Bigelow, nominated for best director, "The Hurt Locker"

(On if she noticed Mulligan following her around) "I’ve been following her around. She’s so talented."

Lee Daniels, nominated for best director, "Precious"

(On picking Sidibe for the lead role) "I thought she was this girl. Then when we stopped the audition and she started talking like Gabby, I was on the floor. I thought she was some white girl from the Valley."

(On what being the second African American nominated for best director means) "It gives hope to so many. I’ve received thousands of emails from young, not just African American, but gay filmmakers, Chinese filmmakers, that see that there’s a chance. That the academy is wise."

Woody Harrelson, nominated for best supporting actor, "The Messenger"

(On whether or not he’ll be nervous on awards night) "I suppose that would be justified if I thought I was going to win. Someone’s going to have an accent when they accept, but it ain’t gonna be a southern accent."

Cristoph Waltz, nominated for best supporting actor, "Inglourious Basterds"

(On whether he knew his knowledge of multiple languages would help his career) "It comes in handy when you travel. It comes in handy when you are trying to seduce someone, so why would it not for a movie?"

(On if he’s become Americanized by the film’s success) "I have to admit that I was totally Americanized already. I moved here for a few years. I was married to an American for a long time. If that doesn’t do it, then a movie won’t either."

Vera Farmiga, nominated for best supporting actress, "Up in the Air"

(On advice for frequent flyers) " Shoes are a big one. Slip ons, not lace ups. I’m the person you don’t want to get behind, because I have a baby carrier and all the baby regalia. You should look out for families with strollers."

(On her approach to the character) "In the words of Mo’Nique,’just be it, don’t judge it and leave the rest on the floor.’ I just tried to do it with grace and dignity and not judge her actions."

Maggie Gyllenhaal, nominated for best supporting actress, "Crazy Heart"

(On advice her brother Jake, an Oscar nominee for "Brokeback Mountain," gave her about the process) "One thing he said even before I was nominated was there isn’t anything at the end of the rainbow. It’s fun and enjoy it in that spirit."