*In an annual rite of passage before the Academy Awards, all of the nominees gather at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to meet, mingle, break bread and take a group photo for posterity.
The 2017 Nominees Luncheon took place earlier today (Feb. 6) ahead of the Feb. 26 ceremony. Viola Davis and Denzel Washington of “Fences,” Octavia Spencer of “Hidden Figures,” “Moonlight’s” Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali and director Barry Jenkins, “Loving” star Ruth Negga were among the nominees in attendance.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs welcomed the nominees in a speech praising their collective achievement while also highlighting the importance of diversity following last year’s #OscarsSoWhite debacle.
“This luncheon is a tradition and a chance to spend an hour to relax and reflect. The photo is more than a snapshot. It is a signature milestone ensuring your place in movie history,” she said. “What a difference a year makes. Real progress has been made. When we expand our membership and reach out to be inclusive, we set a shiny example.”
More than 165 nominees were expected on Monday to raise a group toast, pick up their official certificates of nomination and pose for the class of 2017 photo. Guests dined on Chilean sea bass with couscous, which was followed by fresh banana cream and cinnamon graham tart for dessert.
View red carpet pics from the annual gathering below. (BTW: Somebody tell Denzel that award season is almost over.):