The Oscars have heard all your jokes and are leaning into them: This year’s class photo is whiter than ever! I’m talking, of course, about the backdrop to the annual group picture at the nominees luncheon, which, because of this season’s accelerated schedule, was moved from its usual muted-gray space in the Beverly Hilton to the comparatively blinding surroundings of the Ray Dolby Ballroom. It’s like an Apple ad in there! The new aesthetic lends a touch of high-class gloss to what has traditionally been an awkward, fumbling assemblage of Hollywood’s biggest stars and the lucky VFX artists and sound mixers who get to rub shoulders with them a few times a year. As is our wont, it’s time to pore over these teeny-tiny faces with a magnifying glass to see what fascinating factoids we can glean.
Section of the Photo Most Likely to Make Film Twitter Say, “Direct Me, Daddy!”: This meeting of the minds between Parasite’s Bong Joon Ho and Jojo Rabbit’s Taika Waititi, two of the awards season’s most charming interlopers.
Best Dressed: You can usually count on Waititi to pull out a pineapple-print romper or two, but he toned it down for the luncheon. No matter — in his stead, Sami Khan, co-director of the documentary short St. Louis Superman, is here to represent gents who aren’t afraid to rock a bold color.
Most Casual: Quentin Tarantino’s way of playing the Oscars game is to decidedly not play the Oscars game, so it makes a lot of sense that he would be the one to show up in a bowling shirt.
Easiest to Pick Out of a Lineup: Costume designer Sandy Powell has been nominated 15 times, and thanks to her blazing-red hair and love of eye-popping ensembles, she’s often the first face you spot in the crowd. This year, she went with a banana-yellow suit straight out of The Mask, paired with this spring’s hottest accessory, a Kathy Bates.
Best Structural Reinvention of a Familiar Form: Greta Gerwig, displaying a much more tailored definition of shirtdress than you typically see, complete with a tie. To her right is Honeyland director Tamara Kotevska and Leonardo DiCaprio, continuing his quest to meet every famous Greta.
Biggest Grin: That’s Damien Megherbi, co-director of the live-action short Nefta Football Club, getting his Bill Haverchuck on.
Best Audition for the Wicked Movie: Oscar voters I’ve spoken to positively gushed over Cynthia Erivo’s fashion sense on the trail. At the luncheon, she paired chartreuse glasses with a vibrant lime-green print that’ll have casting directors saying, “Billie Who?”
Most Likely to Find His Lighting: These class photos are often unflattering for even the most genetically blessed of actors. Not so for Brad Pitt, who’s able to make these antiseptic surroundings feel like an Esquire cover. That’s star power, baby!
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