The Oscar nominees’ luncheon happened yesterday in LA. It was a full day of campaign stops as The Hollywood Reporter also hosted an event and the AARP held their annual Movies for Grownups Awards. Spike Lee made the rounds. And it reminds me of a question he was asked on the red carpet at one of the awards shows a couple of weeks ago: does award season get old for you? Or something like that. Something about going to party after party and ceremony after ceremony which is probably not a great question to begin with but it’s definitely not a great question for Spike because, as he answered, he doesn’t do award season all that much!
The reason I put an exclamation point on it is …well…again… this is Spike’s first nomination for Oscar Best Director. His FIRST. Spike isn’t an award season regular. That’s what’s crazy. By now, sure, he should be used to it, but he’s not because they haven’t given him a chance to be used to it.
So what we’re seeing now is Spike Lee, at 61 years old, on his maiden award season voyage. And he seems to be enjoying it. Check him out in his gold sneakers. As Barry Jenkins tweeted:
Spike out here STUNTIN’ 👌🏿 pic.twitter.com/WACSGHyyua— Barry Jenkins (@BarryJenkins) February 4, 2019
Spike was one of two people singled out by Academy President John Bailey yesterday at the luncheon, along with Paul Shrader (also with his first nomination) and Spike was the first name called when they were gathering for the class photo, getting up on stage by himself and waiting until all the others had assembled:
#Oscars: John Bailey says 2019 nominees are a "truer representation" of Academy at annual luncheon https://t.co/BHBlakC5Ab pic.twitter.com/0SRKet64W4— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) February 5, 2019
John Bailey, by the way, was according to Deadline a “big proponent of the Popular Movie category the Academy announced last summer and quickly abandoned after backlash”. As we all know, “popular movies” like Black Panther and A Star is Born are two of the eight Best Picture nominees for Oscar this year and “he looks at it as a step in the right direction for the Academy to acknowledge popular fare in addition to the indie kinds of films that have prevailed in recent times”. Right. Because you don’t need a separate category – you just need to make sure your membership isn’t just about people with the same taste.
As for Spike, he’s still a longshot. Right now, the frontrunner for Best Director is Alfonso Cuaron. At the luncheon though, Oscar producers tried to remind nominees – and eventual winners – about the time they’re allotted for their acceptance speeches. And to avoid just going up there and delivering a list of names. They do this every year and very few people listen. They keep going up there and telling us who their agents are. This time they’re being told they have 90 seconds from the time their name is called to the time they have to finish talking and here’s what the producers suggested so that the show doesn’t run over three hours.
"It's short, but it's heartfelt...and it's full of meaning."— The Academy (@TheAcademy) February 4, 2019
- #Oscars producer Donna Gigliotti explaining what makes a great #Oscars speech before showing this example at the #OscarsLunch pic.twitter.com/JT8Wl3g0zJ
IF it’s Spike… IF it’s Spike… do you think he’s going to observe the time restriction?