Tom Cruise stole the stage at the 95th Oscars luncheon, an annual event honoring the year’s Academy Award nominees. Janet Yang, the president of the Academy, gave the introductory comments at the live event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Devon Franklin, a member of the Board of Governors, read the list of the 182 attendees for this year, starting with Jamie Lee Curtis and concluding with Guillermo del Toro.

Tom Cruise_

More than 200 people gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of the film industry in 2022, aside from Yang addressing the controversy surrounding Will Smith to the audience at the beginning of the event (without mentioning his name). The most number of nominations in history, 182 of them were confirmed for this year’s ceremony. Best actress nominees Ana de Armas (“Blonde”) and Andrea Riseborough (“To Leslie”), supporting actor Barry Keoghan (“The Banshees of Inisherin”), director James Cameron (“Avatar: The Way of Water”), and contenders for original song Rihanna (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “Lady Gaga,” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” and David Byrne (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”) were among the notable

Cruise attended his first large awards season campaign event while nominated as a producer for “Top Gun: Maverick,” alongside Jerry Bruckheimer, Christopher McQuarrie, and David Ellison. Cruise walked the red carpet, met his colleagues, and briefly interacted with journalists.

After being approached by industry professionals, such as Steven Spielberg, Brendan Gleeson, Paul Mescal, Baz Luhrmann, and Bonnie Arnold, Cruise could only move a few steps. He was even seated at a distinguished table with nominees like Michelle Williams from “The Fabelmans,” Daniel Kwan from “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” and director Roger Deakins from “Empire of Light.”

The movie, which is up for six Oscars, including best picture, poses a real danger to winning. I spoke with Cruise in the room and complimented him on his performance in the movie as well as his earlier nominated work in “Born on the Fourth of July” (1989) and “Magnolia” (1998).

He said, “I appreciate it. I then inquired as to if he was having fun. I’m having a terrific time, he retorted.

Oscars Luncheon_

Yang addressed the audience and reminded them that their speeches should be at most 45 seconds long. You have to collaborate with us, she replied. After all, this is live television. Keep it brief, direct, and to the point, please.

On March 12, we’ll see how many of them pay attention.

Speaking with numerous Academy members, publicists, and nominees, there is a feeling of uncertainty as the awards season nears its conclusion.

An elector was undecided about whether to vote for Jamie Lee Curtis or Angela Bassett in the “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” or “Everything Everywhere All at Once” categories. While another expresses skepticism about how far “Everything Everywhere” may advance in the top category, another believes Todd Field (“Tár”) is the true challenge for the best director.

In the past, the attending reporters from various outlets would randomly draw a number to place them at a table where the nominees would be seated. A journalist would be seated at one of the tables in a fair (and enjoyable) process.

Ke Huy Quan’s name was among the 182 people who had been nominated. As DeVon Franklin read their names, the audience erupted in applause. Quan almost skipped to the platform for the yearly class picture as his arms were in the air. Unofficially, as I can’t claim to be a trustworthy “applause-o-meter,” Quan’s co-star Stephanie Hsu may have been the contender who elicited the loudest response. What could that mean?

Austin Butler (“Elvis”), Brendan Fraser (“The Whale”), Rick Carter (“The Fabelmans”), Guillermo del Toro (“Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio”), and Dede Gardner (“Women Talking”) were other notable noisemakers.

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