2014 Oscar nominees gathered for the annual Nominees Luncheon on Monday, Feb. 10, at The Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Nominees walked a red carpet before gathering inside for lunch and for the Oscar Class photo, which features all the nominees.

Being nominated for an Oscar was not a requirement to receive an invite to the luncheon, as Kristen Bell, Santino Fontana and Josh Gad attended the function on behalf of their film Frozen, which is nominated for Best Animated Film. Bell tweeted about her interactions with Bono, who is up for Best Original Song with U2.

Other fun celebrity encounters reported at the luncheon included Oscar nominated actress, Meryl Streep sneaking a peek at Best Original Song nominee, Pharrell Williams’ famous hat from the Grammy’s.

In the press room, Jared Leto, nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Dallas Buyers Club, spoke lovingly about his mother and his enjoyment at bringing her as his date to award shows.

“The biggest inspiration, the biggest lesson she taught me was to dream and to do the work that it takes to make dreams a reality. It’s been fun to bring her around, and you get these opportunities to stand up here and say something, and the best part is to be able to thank people who have believed in you for so long, and I could spend every single one of these events thanking my mother. She’s the best,” Leto said.

Another nominee for Best Supporting Actor, Jonah Hill, kept things light at the luncheon, joking that he would do almost anything if it meant he could work with director Martin Scorsese one more time, saying, “Money is never a concern to work with people like Martin Scorsese. I would do whatever… I would paint his house if he asked me to.”

Most of all, the nominees all appeared happy to be there. Best Actor nominee, Matthew McConaughey, announced that he would be celebrating win or lose come Oscar night, saying that he is going to enjoy this ride as long as possible.

“I’m going to celebrate no matter what. I’m already in celebration mode; I’m going to enjoy this. This is my first time being nominated, and if I ever get nominated again, who knows? But there’s never going to be another first time,” McConaughey told the crowd.

McConaughey, who is nominated for Dallas Buyers Club, also told reporters that he did have one regret about the nominees luncheon: that Tom Hanks wasn’t there. (Hanks failed to get a nomination for Captain Phillips.)

“I wish Tom Hanks was in there [among the nominees]. It’s kind of crazy that he’s not. I’d like to hang out with him,” McConaughey lamented.

Sandra Bullock brought her trademark humor and graceful demeanor to the press room, praising the crew of Gravity and talking about her working relationship with director Alfonso Cuaron, who is nominated for his work on the film.

“I trusted him 100% because you had his body of work as proof,” Bullock said of working on such a unique and mysterious film with Cuaron.

Perhaps the most joyous attendee was 12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen. McQueen surprised reporters when he said that he has enjoyed the press tour and campaigning process because it offered him the opportunity to bring Solomon Northup into current discussions about race and race relations.

“It was always my ambition to get this book in the schools…It gives me great pride that we’ve resurrected his novel and the whole world will now learn his name,” McQueen told the press.

McQueen loves doing Q&A for 12 Years A Slave so much, he insisted on an extra question during his time in the pressroom.

Other famous faces who enjoyed the event were Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy, nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay for their film Before Midnight. Delpy and Hawke appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live after the luncheon, where Delpy revealed that she narrowly escaped an embarrassing moment at the luncheon when she mistakenly took Christian Bale for Hawke and went to pinch his behind before realizing it wasn’t her co-star.

The 86th Oscars, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, will air live Sunday, March 2, 2014 on ABC at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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