Who got the biggest round of applause at the Oscar luncheon?

Two men in suits chatting.
Bradley Cooper and Denzel Washington chat at the Oscar nominees luncheon.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

It’s time for Dodger baseball! Well ... almost, anyway. Opening Day will now arrive about a week after the Oscars ... late dates for both institutions, but better late than never, right?

I’m Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter and the guy whose favorite plant is, like Joan Didion, the wallflower because all I’ve been doing lately is listening in to other people’s conversations — and taking notes. Here’s what I’ve been hearing ....

Oscars luncheon: Controversy ... what controversy?

It’s still a thrill to be nominated — even if your Oscar isn’t being presented during the live ceremony.

And at the annual Oscar nominees luncheon Monday, nearly everyone put on a happy face. Complaints were kept to a minimum, other than a handful of men lamenting that their coats fit a bit snugly after hanging in the closet for the last two years.


That doesn’t mean people have made peace with the decision to move eight categories off the live broadcast. Open letters continue to make the rounds. Gripes are aired, publicly and privately, including some from academy members who told me not all that long ago that they thought the changes were necessary. Now there’s talk of “irreparable damage” and “demeaning the very crafts that, in their most outstanding expressions, make the art of filmmaking worthy of celebration.”

But for a couple of hours Monday, frowns were turned upside down. There was a general sense of happiness — and relief — to be returning to in-person hugs and geeking out after the pandemic canceled the much-treasured event last year.

“Licorice Pizza” filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson warmly embraced actor Andrew Garfield, telling him he’d seen “Spider Man: No Way Home” four times. “Spencer” actress Kristen Stewart lost her mind meeting “CODA” writer-director Siân Heder. When “CODA” actor Troy Kotsur’s name was announced, nearly everyone in the room waved their hands, signing applause for the Deaf actor.

Who generated the most applause at the event? Check out our coverage, which includes pictures from Times photographers Jay L. Clendenin and Myung J. Chun.

A smiling man seen through a crowd.
Will Smith attends the Oscar nominees luncheon.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

Denzel Washington tackles life’s fourth quarter

“I’m almost done with my 60s,” Washington told me recently, trying out some alliteration for size. “The simplistic 60s. The simplified 60s.” He looks at me. I’m not there yet. “You’re prepping for the fourth quarter, though. The only way to get overtime is doing the work now. If life has four quarters — zero to 20, 20 to 40, 40 to 60, 60 to 80 — you’re about to enter the fourth quarter. Anything after 80 is overtime.” He pauses, then reconsiders. “This is a sliding scale now that I’ve passed 65. Let’s say, 65 to 85. But the principle remains: You prepare for war in times of peace.”


So how do you prepare for the fourth quarter? Washington answers with three words: Body. Mind. Spirit.

He elaborates, of course. And our conversation took some interesting detours, landing on the Bible, the Beatles, boarding school acid trips and the conversations he has in his bathroom with John Coltrane, Nelson Mandela and Muhammad Ali.

Denzel Washington smiling
Denzel Washington, an Oscar nominee for “The Tragedy of Macbeth.”
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

Enjoying this newsletter? Consider subscribing to the Los Angeles Times

Your support helps us deliver the news that matters most. Become a subscriber.

The paths to the best picture Oscar

Even with cowboys that look, at least to one pair of tired eyes, like Chippendales dancers, Jane Campion’s “The Power of the Dog” is looking like it’s going to win best picture when the Oscars are handed out March 27.

But that doesn’t mean that some of the other contenders don’t have a pathway to that award. In some cases, all it might take is a victory in one other category — probably a category in which it bests “The Power of the Dog.” Some of these projected wins feel like long shots ... but I’m telling you there’s a chance.


So let’s take a look at the roads these six movies — “Belfast,” “CODA,” “Dune,” “King Richard,” “The Power of the Dog” and “West Side Story” — must take toward that final envelope on Oscar night. Is your favorite movie in the hunt?

A woman leans out of a car window and makes the American Sign Language sign for "I love you."
Emilia Jones in best picture nominee “CODA.”
(Apple TV+)


I’d love to hear from you. Email me at

Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.