Your class photos at school probably didn’t take place at the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles with Bradley Cooper in the back row.
But then there’s no class photo quite like the annual Oscars picture taken each year at the Academy Awards luncheon.
On Monday, this year’s nominees were called up one by one to take their place for the photo – with Spike Lee, Mahershala Ali, and Regina King getting the biggest applause, according to Vanity Fair.
The Academy also took the opportunity to announce some more details of this year’s ceremony – including confirming once and for all that there won’t be a host, after Kevin Hart dropped out.
Here are the many weird and wonderful things we spotted in this year’s class photo:
1. Lady Gaga will henceforth be known as Saint Gaga
And there she is – the devout, white-cloaked best actress nominee standing in the back row overlooking her disciples like some kind of heavenly angel atop the Academy Awards Christmas tree.
“There could be 100 people in a room,” she is probably telling them if her recent interviews are anything to go by, “and 99 don’t believe in you, but one person does.”
There were actually 212 people in this room, representing 52 films, but the Million Reasons singer isn’t one to get bogged down with mathematical accuracy.
Gaga’s nominated song Shallow was actually playing in the background as the nominees assembled for the photo, just in case any of them had missed the last 346 times they’d heard it on the radio.
2. Please can somebody check this guy is alright
We hope there was a health professional on site who might be able to check on Paul Schrader.
As the writer of First Reformed, he is nominated in the best original screenplay category this year.
Clearly we aren’t the only ones concerned about his health, as sound editor Skip Lievsay, who is standing in front of him, appears to be trying to raise the alarm.
But hopefully, instead of being short of breath or experiencing chest pains, Schrader was simply putting his hand on his heart in that grateful I’m-so-honoured-to-be-here way that Americans sometimes do.
Might be worth making sure there’s a paramedic on site at the actual ceremony though to be on the safe side.
3. The back row was pretty A-list
Glenn Close, Rami Malek and Bradley Cooper were all clustered together near the back, perhaps to catch a break from all the attention they’d been receiving over lunch.
Malek was “unable to walk a foot without being stopped and congratulated” at the event, reported Entertainment Weekly.
Cooper, meanwhile, reportedly spent a lot of time chatting to Spike Lee – both of whom have several nominations this year, including one in the same category – best adapted screenplay.
The pair may have been picking up on Cooper’s revelation at the weekend that he once auditioned for Lee before he was famous – an encounter that the BlackKklansman director had no recollection of.
The lettuce and tomato in the meaty acting sandwich of Close-Malek-Cooper were Ready Player One’s animation supervisor David Shirk and Border make-up artist Pamela Goldammer.
4. ‘How about a verse of Killing Me Softly?’
The Academy officially confirmed at the luncheon that all five best song nominees will perform at this year’s ceremony.
(There had been rumours that they might drop a few of them in order to keep the ceremony short but they apparently received death threats from an anonymous blackmailer named L. Gaga.)
Possibly to show their support for this decision, three of this year’s nominees appeared to flex their musical muscles as the photo was being taken.
Now if just one more vocalist could join Vice producer Kevin Messick, Vice director Adam McKay and Mirai producer Yuichiro Saito, they could form the official Academy barbershop quartet.
5. Richard E Grant may have been clothes shopping at Desigual
“I’m one of those actors, like the majority, 99.9% of actors, who don’t get nominated or awarded things,” Richard E Grant told the Associated Press at the luncheon.
“That’s just the way it is, unless your name is Helen Mirren or Judi Dench or that tiny group of people who always get nominated.”
Reasoning that this could be his first and last chance to call himself a best supporting actor nominee, Grant decided to wear an extra bright and colourful shirt.
(Here’s a closer look at it.)
Either he came straight from a shopping spree at Desigual, or he’s been taking fashion tips from James Ivory, whose shirt stole the show at last year’s Oscars.
At 6ft 2in tall, Grant towers over the production design nominees either side of him – John Myhre from Mary Poppins Returns and Black Panther’s Hannah Beachler.
Beachler is, in fact, already a record-breaker – as the first African-American nominee in this category, which is maybe why she looks a little more nonchalant than Grant, not bothering with such inconveniences as keeping her eyes open.
6. Look! Women! And lots of them!!
In amongst all the beards and boring suits, you may have spotted a much higher female contingent than any previous Oscars class photo.
Academy president John Bailey was quick to champion the fact that 2019 has the largest number of female nominees in Oscars history.
“Gender parity is an industry matter, not just an Academy matter,” Bailey told the nominees as they sat down to eat.
“In front of and behind the camera, inclusion, diversity, racial, ethnic, and gender equality are not just buzzwords. They get to the heart of what our Academy is doing.”
A quick zoom-in on this section of the photo backs up his point, with appearances from (deep breath – clockwise from top left), Nadine Labaki, Rachel Weisz, Maria del Puy Alvarado, Rayka Zehtabchi, Becky Neiman-Cobb, Nicole Holofcener and Alice Felton.
Admittedly Christian Bale and Mark Ronson might be slightly stepping on our point here but our Photoshop skills aren’t advanced enough to crop them out.
7. And the Oscar for best socks goes to…
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse may have been cruelly snubbed in the best picture category, but producer Christopher Miller (centre) deserves an award purely for his discerning taste in rainbow-patterned socks.
Other notable (slash questionable) fashion choices include the extraordinarily dapper Mahershala Ali (left), whose maroon suit stood out in a sea of black and dark blue tuxes.
We’re just happy Florian Henckel Von Donnersmarck (right) was able to make it to the luncheon at all, having apparently come straight from climbing a mountain.
Maybe he figured that any effort would be wasted, as his movie Never Look Away is highly unlikely to win best foreign language film thanks to stiff competition from Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma.
8. The hat game was strong this year
Socks aside, some other fashion trends emerged in the photo – not least the presence of far more hats than usual.
BlackKklansman editor Barry Alexander Brown (left) wore a trilby, possibly to try and disguise the fact he’s the secret twin brother of the guy standing in front of him.
Spike Lee’s hat, meanwhile, was closer to a beret, while Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige opted for a baseball cap.
Next year, we’re going to need some stetsons, beanies and ideally a Fez please.
9. Royal nominees were excused from attending
There was a regal absence in the photo this year – as two of the stars of The Favourite weren’t able to make the luncheon.
Olivia Colman, who plays Queen Anne, and Emma Stone, who plays Baroness Abigail Masham, are both up for acting awards at the ceremony.
Other absentees this year included BlackKklansman’s Adam Driver and Kendrick Lamar, who’s up for original song.
Perhaps Colman was too busy filming the new series of The Crown (or was busy laying down some vocals with Kendrick in the studio for his next album) to attend.
We’re pretty sure all will turn up to the ceremony though, which takes place on Sunday 24 February.
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