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‘Vote for us. That’s an order!’

A ship's captain and his guest tilt dramatically onboard their troubled vessel in "Triangle of Sadness."
Arvin Kananian, left, and Woody Harrelson in “Triangle of Sadness.” Capt. Stubing is nowhere to be found.
(AP)
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It dipped into the 30s in Los Angeles last night. The 30s! And when I woke up this morning, all I could think about was this guy, wondering how much his gas bill was going to be this month. Nine hundred and seven dollars ... and he thinks it’s all because of his whirlpool spa? Unless he’s out there at night listening to poetry with a new best friend, I’d say go easy on that Jacuzzi for a couple of months, buddy.

I’m Glenn Whipp, columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of The Envelope’s Friday newsletter and the guy reminding you not to forget your booties ’cuz it’s cold out there today.

How the 10 best picture nominees are making their final pitches

For the 10 movies nominated for best picture, being invited to the party was just the first step. Now the focus is on winning the Oscar in what remains a wide-open race. Campaign pitches must be freshened, talking points adjusted and the souls of all involved cleansed with Ophora water and superfood smoothies, making it possible to formulate an answer to the question “So ... how did this project originate?” and not completely die inside because it has been asked, by this point, several thousand times.

So as we’re heading into the final stretch before voting begins, I decided to take a look at what messages these movies might be sending. (Operative word: “might.”) Take, for example, this proposed campaign song for Ruben Östlund’s “Triangle of Sadness,” sung to the tune of the “Love Boat Theme”:

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Puke
Was it the galley’s stew?
Overboard
Into the ocean blue!
The haaaate boat
Soon will be making another run
The haaaate boat
Making fun of the rich is fun

Keep ahold of your dentures
And try to barf in the potted plants
And hate won’t hurt any more
Even if our satire’s a crashing bore
It’s haaaaate ...
Welcome aboard!

[Apologies to anyone just sitting down to breakfast ...]

Soldiers silhouetted by flames
Nine-time nominee “All Quiet on the Western Front” was made by Germans who hate war just as much as the next European Union country, except for maybe those Swedes.
(Netflix)

Angela Bassett: ‘I did what I came to do. And I did it well’

Moments after the credits started rolling at the premiere of “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” Angela Bassett’s son, Slater, leaned over and whispered in his mom’s ear: “Oscar.” Months later, Bassett laughs at the memory because her immediate response, at least in her head, was “Aaaaaw, you’re my son. You’re supposed to say nice things to your mom. But thank you, darling!”

Ever since the January announcement that Bassett had earned an Oscar nomination for reprising the role of Queen Ramonda and, in the process, becoming the first actor to win academy recognition for a Marvel movie, Slater has reminded her more than once about that evening.

“At the time, the Oscars were the furthest thing in my mind,” Bassett tells me. It’s a Saturday, and we’re seated in a booth in a noisy breakfast spot not far from her La Cañada Flintridge home, a cozy spot where Bassett stands out because she’s wearing a stylish pantsuit and has ordered only tea, forsaking the bulging breakfast plates that the waitstaff carries by our booth. Also: She’s Angela Bassett! No matter the setting, her magnificence doesn’t exactly blend into the background.

Bassett and I talked about life’s transitions, big and small, reminiscing about her move to L.A. and how she’s preparing for her twin teenagers to head off to college. I enjoyed the conversation, and I think you will too.

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“The other day I asked my daughter, just fishing, saying, ‘Oh, if you go to Yale, I’m going to get an apartment just down the street from you,’” Bassett says. “And she’s like, ‘That’d be great, Mom!’” Bassett shakes her head, laughing. “Just fishing, you know. Like, ‘I’m going to miss you! So I’m going to go back to college too.’”

A woman dressed in orange pants, shirt and jacket, with her hair blowing out.
Angela Bassett earned a supporting actress nomination for her turn in “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.”
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

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Oscar nominees luncheon: All hail Tom Cruise!

I had a deadline and was unable to attend Monday’s Oscar nominees luncheon, but my colleagues Josh Rottenberg and Jay L. Clendenin made it and mixed with around 180 happy-to-be-nominated humans.

Per Josh: Paul Mescal chatted with Jenny Slate. Cate Blanchett tucked into her salad beside Tony Kushner. Tom Cruise gave Steven Spielberg a bear hug and congratulated the filmmaker, with whom he worked on “Minority Report” and “War of the Worlds,” on his latest film, “The Fabelmans” —“Beautiful stuff,” Cruise said, beaming. “Beautiful stuff.”

Spielberg returned the compliment, telling Cruise that his movie, you may have heard of it ... “Top Gun: Maverick” ... “saved Hollywood’s ass.” Is it any wonder Cruise received some of the loudest applause of any nominee? Next up: Cruise will save the Oscars. And then go to In-N-Out for his earthly reward.

A man and a woman share a laugh in a crowded room.
Tom Cruise and Michelle Yeoh at the Oscar nominees luncheon.
(Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)
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I’d love to hear from you. Email me at glenn.whipp@latimes.com.

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

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