LOS ANGELES — Nominees for this year's Academy Awards, or Oscars, met over lunch Monday at the annual nominees luncheon. Many also met with reporters and shared their thoughts on the competition.
Sandra Bullock is a nominee for best actress for her role as an astronaut who is stranded in space in the drama Gravity. She said that much of the action was filmed with the actors suspended on wires against a black background, and that the performers were just as impressed as the theater audiences to see the finished movie. She praised the film's director, Mexican-born Alfonso Cuaron; she said he led the actors on a journey.
“It wasn't supposed to be a big blockbuster film. It was sort of an avant-garde, esoteric existential film about loss and adversity in space, and so being on that journey with someone that you knew you could trust 1,000 percent is what made it so easy,” said Bullock.
Amy Adams is another best actress nominee for her role as a 1970s con artist in American Hustle. Her costars also are up for Oscars: Christian Bale for best actor and Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence for their supporting roles. Adams thanked director David O. Russell. She said that he has created two distinctive roles for her in two of his films, and that both challenged her acting. She worked with him previously on The Fighter, a 2010 film that brought her an Oscar nomination for her supporting role.
“It's a wonderful, wonderful thing, and challenging and complicated, but at the end of the day, you get to create these characters that hadn't existed in your repertoire before, so I'm really grateful,” said Adams.
The historical drama 12 Years a Slave, from British director Steve McQueen, is another leading contender for multiple Oscars. It tells the true story of Solomon Northrup, a free black man from the North who was sold into slavery in the South before the American Civil War. Critics have praised the film, but have also said that it is difficult to watch because of the subject matter. McQueen said that's not true.
“It just shows you that audiences are interested in challenging films, audiences are interested in films which give them a perspective of their history and where they are now and hopefully, where they can be in the future,” said McQueen.
The film's star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, is competing for the Oscar for best actor. Costars Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong'o are Oscar nominees for their supporting roles.
First-time nominee Nyong'o did not know what to expect in the weeks before the Oscars.
“There's no way that I could have dreamt any of this stuff up. It's just been an incredible journey, and it continues to be that. It's an adventure, and a very exciting one,” said Nyong’o.
Matthew McConaughey, a best actor nominee for his role as an AIDS activist in Dallas Buyers Club, said he is celebrating his nomination.
“This is my first time nominated, and if I ever get nominated again, who knows, but there will never be another first time. And so I'm going to enjoy this one,” said McConaughey.
Oscar winners will be announced Sunday, March 2, in Hollywood.