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Oscar hopefuls do lunch in Beverly Hills


February 9, 2004
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More than 100 Oscar nominees rubbed shoulders at a pre-Academy Awards luncheon on Monday afternoon in Beverly Hills, bringing together an A-list group of stars from Hollywood legend Clint Eastwood to first-time shortlister Naomi Watts.

A chance for the 2004 honourees to mingle, the annual event saw nominees including Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Diane Keaton and Marcia Gay Harden enjoying a casual lunch before gathering for a traditional "class photo".

More than one of the famous guests admitted they were feeling just bit star-struck. Thirteen-year-old Keisha Castle-Hughes, the youngest-ever best actress nominee, seemed to be overwhelmed with the high-voltage star power which surrounded her at the event. "I just met Charlize Theron," she told reporters, "And I was like, 'Oh, my God'."

But the Australia-born teen wasn't the only one awed by the roster of Tinseltown power players attending the mid-day lunch. "I'm not that hungry," said actor Benicio Del Toro, who won an Oscar for his work in Traffic, "but I'm collecting autographs."

Even if Benicio didn't get enough signatures, he didn't have to leave empty handed. All the nominees took home a surprisingly down-to-earth souvenir – a commemorative Academy Awards sweatshirt.

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Photo: © Alphapress.com
First-time best actress nominee Naomi Watts was among the guests at the annual Beverly Hills lunchPhoto: © AFPy
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The 2004 director nominees, from legend Clint Eastwood to newcomer Sofia Coppola, gather together for the first timePhoto: © Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

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