Jessica Chastain and Ang Lee, both in the running for the 2013 Academy Awards, were present at this year's Oscar Nominees Luncheon, which was held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' press release claimed that about 160 Oscar 2013 nominees were expected to be on hand at the Nominees Luncheon. (Photo: Ang Lee, Jessica Chastain chatting away.)
Ang Lee is a Best Director nominee for the 3D mix of fantasy and reality Life of Pi, starring Suraj Sharma as a young man who finds himself floating in a small boat in mid-ocean, with only a tiger as his companion — a quite similar plight to that of the young Nazi-Germany refugee Max Schmidt, who finds himself floating in a small boat in mid-ocean, with only a jaguar as his companion, in Brazilian author Moacyr Scliar's 1981 novella Max and the Cats / Max e os Felinos.
Best Director Oscar winner Ang Lee
Ang Lee won the Best Director Oscar in early 2006 for the gay cowboy / sheepherder drama Brokeback Mountain, starring Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal as the star-crossed lovers. Lee was also nominated for the Chinese-made Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000). Back in early 1996, Sense and Sensibility was nominated for Best Picture, but Lee was bypassed in the Best Director category. Additionally, The Wedding Banquet (1993) was a Best Foreign Language Film nominee.
Busy actress Jessica Chastain
Jessica Chastain became a film sensation of sorts in 2011, when the stage actress was featured in what seemed like 300 movies. Chastain was eventually singled out by numerous critics groups for her multifarious performances (e.g., Jeff Nichols' Take Shelter, Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life, Ralph Fiennes' Coriolanus, etc.), ultimately receiving a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for Tate Taylor's The Help.
Jessica Chastain slowed down a bit in 2012: she only had about 30 movies out. This year, she's a Best Actress nominee for Kathryn Bigelow's highly controversial Zero Dark Thirty, about the U.S. government's hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Ang Lee, Jessica Chastain 2013 Oscar Nominees Luncheon photo: Todd Wawrychuk / © Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.