Outside Fig & Olive in West Hollywood on Friday night, the team from the Oscar-nominated “Shaun the Sheep Movie” were reviewing their snapshots from the evening -- and by that measure, it was a smashing success.
“My kid doesn’t care if we win,” producer Julie Lockhart said with a laugh, “as long as I got a picture with James Corden.” Yes, she did get a photo with the night’s emcee, and it would be going on Instagram as soon as possible.
And that’s the kind of evening it was at the Film Is Great reception, presented by the British Consulate to celebrate Oscar nominees from Britain. The “Sheep” team, which also included writer-directors Richard Starzak and Mark Burton, plus producer Paul Kewley, were among those chatting away with smiles on their faces in a collegial pre-Oscars atmosphere that still felt, as emcee Corden said, “like every wedding you’ve ever been to.”
But you have to imagine a wedding where “The Danish Girl” star and event co-host Eddie Redmayne had a hard time making it all the way into the room and “X-Men” star Patrick Stewart had a hard time making it out toward the end of the night -- because so many friends and fans wanted to stop each of the actors for just a moment, do you mind, sir, for a handshake, a chat and perhaps a photo.
Midway through the night, Corden took the stage for the presentation of nominees but first joked that the gender pay gap in Hollywood was so pronounced that “Eddie Redmayne had to take a pay cut halfway through ‘The Danish Girl.’” Redmayne took the mike and after a few words handed it over to British Consul General Chris O’Connor.
The evening, O’Connor said, celebrated a partnership between Britain and Hollywood that this year had yielded 36 Academy Award nominations in a slew of categories and “just an unbelievable range of films.”
“We have the Brit-directed ‘Martian’ that takes us to space. We have ‘Star Wars,’ shot in the U.K., that takes us to space. We have two movies that take us through complex LGBT experiences with ‘The Danish Girl’ and ‘Carol.’ We have ‘Shaun the Sheep,’ that takes us back to our childhood. We have the unbelievable documentary ‘Amy,’ that takes us into the heart of a much loved, much missed music icon.
“And of course we have ‘Spectre,’ we have Bond, which is a particular favorite of us a lot of us who work in the British Consulate, because Bond has shown time and time again just how cool it is to be a British civil servant.”
Yes, that was a major laugh line.
Redmayne also praised the efforts of his fellow Brits. “What I think is extraordinary this year is that out of 24 categories of nominations at the Oscars, there are Brits in 21 of them .... It shows the depth and the breadth of skills in our country.
“I’m desperate to travel, I keep saying to my wife [the pregnant Hannah Bagshawe, who was also on hand]: ‘Let’s go abroad to work.’ I’ve just finished shooting a film which is entirely set in New York; we shot it all in Watford,” outside London, he said, earning broad laughter. “‘The Danish Girl,’ a major part of it was shot in Elstree [Studios, in Hertfordshire].”
And then it was time for all the nominees to have their moment in the sun (nearly literally, as lights illuminating them for a group photo were blindingly bright).
Then Jamie Cullum, the jazz-pop singer-songwriter who was there with wife Sophie Dahl, knocked out a high-energy live set that included “When I Get Famous” and a moment that had him singing from high atop his piano.
Joanne Froggatt of “Downton Abbey” was a beautiful and tiny splash of sunflower gold, disappearing into a crowd of people eager for her attention. Idris Elba made a quick appearance, and Patrick Stewart did the rounds with “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” actress Celia Imrie. Gordon Ramsay, who did the menu for the evening and will do the same for Elton John’s viewing-party guests Sunday, posed for pictures with Corden, Redmayne and uncounted others.
Nominee Alicia Vikander of “The Danish Girl” was on hand, and actress Gemma Chan, who’ll be seen with Redmayne in the upcoming “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them,” spent some time with the “Shaun” gang.
The crush of activity leading up to the Oscars on Sunday has been, according to “Shaun” producer Lockhart, “a bit like preparing for the Second Coming, you know? ... You can’t even drive around town because so many streets are closed for events.”
Also spotted: Naomi Campbell, Minnie Driver, Cat Deeley, Noah Huntley, Nigel Lythgoe, David Harewood, Lesley Nichol and more, including “The Danish Girl” director Tom Hooper, who won an Oscar in 2011 for directing “The King’s Speech,” and cinematographer Roger Deakins, whose nod for “Sicario” is his 13th Academy Award nomination.
Three-time Oscar winner Sandy Powell, who’s a double nominee this year for “Carol” and “Cinderella,” wouldn’t answer directly when pressed to reveal which of her films she hoped would win. Of course, she said, she loves them both.
And the costume designer’s attire for the evening? Powell’s funky casual look was topped by a T-shirt emblazoned with what appeared to be the “Straight Outta Compton” logo -- which on second glance actually read “Straight Outta Brixton.”
It was the evening, in a nutshell.