LOS ANGELES – “Roma,” with its director Alfonso Cuaron, as well as its protagonists Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de Tavira, was on everyone’s lips during the Oscar nominees luncheon on Monday, organized by the Hollywood Academy at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, in Los Angeles, California.
At this traditional event, actors, directors, producers, scriptwriters, composers, sound engineers and other nominated artists gather around the same table to learn about the ins and outs of their professions, leaving behind the nerves and pressure of advertising campaigns.
The Academy invited a few media representatives to the event and EFE shared a table with Bradley Cooper (nominee for best actor, producer and best adapted screenplay), Yalitza Aparicio (best actress) and Laura Dern (member of the Board of Governors of the Academy), among other people.
“It’s wonderful to be here,” Aparicio told EFE, while cheered by those present when she was called to have her photo taken with the rest of the nominees.
“I’m very nervous since all this is happening. But it makes me feel very happy to meet these people and have these experiences. Seeing so many celebrities sitting here, eating and being so casual, is incredible,” the nominee for best actress said.
During lunch, Cooper, flanked at all times by fellow cast member Lady Gaga, rose from the table to greet Aparicio and congratulate her on her work. Moments later, he handed her his mobile phone and, with the camera on, spoke for a few seconds with his partner, model Irina Shayk, who spoke a few words to her in Spanish.
“I’m trying to assimilate what’s happening to me. It’s difficult because I didn’t expect any of this,” admitted Aparicio.
John Bailey, president of the Academy, was proud of the diversity shown by the nominations and was particularly pleased by the internationalization of the nominations.
“This year’s nominations make clear our success regarding international inclusion,” he said.
Although Bailey did not refer to it, several sources confirmed to different media that the Oscars will be held without a master of ceremonies for the first time in 30 years, something that Donna Gigliotti and Glenn Weiss, producers of the gala, did not mention either.
Gigliotti recalled that the winners of the golden statuettes will have up to 90 seconds from the time his or her name is called, while Weiss said that his goal is to organize an “incredible show” in the three hours.
“Please cooperate and you will be at the parties by 20:15 pm,” he laughed. “I ask you to give speeches from the heart and be brief, out of respect for other colleagues.”
Viggo Mortensen, nominated best actor for the third time, explained that he enjoys this event “because it is very quiet” and is an ideal opportunity to chat with people he admires.
“You can talk to legends of the trade. There is no stress, no competition, it’s nice. I have to say that being nominated is amazing and helps my film (‘Green Book’), but it’s also stressful,” said the artist, who is in the middle of shooting in Toronto, on his debut as a director.
“I do four days of work and go to the airport. Still, I can’t complain. This doesn’t happen often,” he said.
Mortensen’s experience contrasted with the astonishment with which Maria del Puy Alvarado, producer of the Spanish short film “Madre,” saw everything.
“We are very happy because this project has only given us joy,” said Alvarado, who confirmed that Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s feature film, based on the short film, is already in the post-production phase.
“We’re going for it all, but it’s not going to be easy. You do not know what result or what chances we have, but we’re the only Spanish people here. Maybe the pull of ‘Roma’ helps,” confessed Alvarado, who acknowledged that, of all the stars present in the room, she wanted above all to meet the team of the Mexican film.