Newbie Talent at the Hollywood Reporter Oscar Reception

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George Clooney on the cover of The Hollywood Reporter
By Susan Hornik 

In the midst of a barrage of non-stop Oscar events, The Hollywood Reporter hosted an evening to tip its media hat to this year’s nominees, with an outdoor tented party at The Getty House, Los Angeles Mayor’s Antonio R. Villaraigosa’s 1920’s mansion.

Oscar buzz participants like Owen Wilson, Jessica Chastain, Michael Sheen, Max Von Sydow and “The Descendants” Amara Miller were at the shindig, where guests drank specialty Grey Goose cocktails with cool names like L’Orange Mogul and La Poire Velvet Rope.

Networking makes celebrities hungry, which is why there were dishes like orzo with butternut squash, cod with mint and parsley, piccata of jidori chicken, with grapefruit, grilled steak and vegetables, herb risotto and melon/cucumber salad. And if that wasn’t filling enough, guests were treated to a variety of caviar samplings and other appetizers like tomato tarte, truffled pecorini, smoked salmon and goat cheese duck confit.

Several up and coming talent were present as well. Actress Brooklyn Decker, who was happy to be invited to an Oscar party, could not leave the dessert table. “Between the macaroons, the chocolate mousse, and the assorted chocolate/caramel truffle cake pops, I am definitely going to have to work out in the gym after this!”

Fan boy favorite Mary Elizabeth Winstead talked to reporters on the red carpet. “I have friends who are nominated which is why this Oscar season has been really special for me, she said. “Octavia Spencer is incredible as is Jessica Chastain. They are both so nice and lovely, it’s kinda funny they are up against each other. And they are such great actors, just starting their careers! I really would love to see their film, ‘The Help’ win.”

Winstead admits she is happy she is not famous enough such that she can’t be recognized when she goes to the supermarket. “At least for right now, I may have an abnormal job but at least I can retreat and be just a regular person in my day to day life. I lead a very normal day usually!”

Amara Miller, who plays George Clooney’s daughter in “The Descendants” was tickled pink by her experience working on the film. “It was really fun and amazing. and you just don’t get that usually on set. A lot of people have a big ego but thankfully no one was really like that–everyone was really friendly.” 

And while the entire world continues to swoon over A lister George Clooney, Amara was untouched by this. “I was only nine years old when I made this film. Everyone always asks me what do I think of George, but I didn’t know who he was before I did the film! It’s funny when someone is that famous, not to know him!”

The producers of “Martha Marcy May Marlene” (starring Elizabeth Olsen) had flown into town for their Film Independent Spirit Award nominated film, though they were a bit unhappy. “We flew here from New York. God how we hate the LA traffic!  It drives me crazy! I could never live here!” quipped Antonio Campos.  Added Josh Mond, “We’re lucky we live in New York City, where we can walk everywhere. And we are very private people, so New York suits as well. In LA, there is so much more a focus on celebrities and fame. ” Needless to say, the duo is grateful for the success of their films; they now have a first look with Fox Searchlight.

“It’s been a really good year,” Mond said. After “Martha” wrapped, Campos and Mond gave themselves one day to relax and then got right back into the groove. “We slept the day through, then got on a plane to Paris to work on our next film! This is our life, but we enjoy it.”Look out for ‘Simon Killer’ which will be released through IFC later this year.

Levin Rambin is uber excited about her next film, “The Hunger Games,” which unless you have been living under a rock, you know will be coming out next month—pre-sale tickets for the film have already exceeded “Twilight.”

“I am nervous as well, as I know this is the biggest scale of things I have ever really been a part of.,” said Levin. “Plus fan expectations are huge, but I am confident in our performances. I think people will really gravitate toward it. The kind of exposure a film like this affords could change an actor’s life.”

The day the film wrapped, Levin more than slightly deviated from her diet. “I had a huge pizza, oreos, ice cream, chocolate and graham crackers. It was awesome! We had so much pain from the physicality of the film, it was good to just relax and eat what I want!” 

“Hunger Games” co-star Alexander Ludwig –who also loves his junk food!–is astounded by the number of people who recognize him on the USC campus. “So many people have come up to me and want to discuss the film and the movie is not even out yet! I can’t even imagine what is going to happen, once audiences from all over the world see it.” Ludwig is only taking a few classes this semester so he can  put his attention on promoting the film and a burgeoning music career.

Ludwig acknowledged he was worried about saying something “dumb” to the mayor, in case he was introduced to him. “I am so nervous, I kept telling myself in the ride over here, to make sure I kept it short and sweet with him!”