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A pre-Oscar appetizer draws 140 aspirants

February 06, 2007|John Horn and Sheigh Crabtree

TEMPERATURES were rising at Monday's annual luncheon for Oscar nominees at the Beverly Hilton Hotel -- and it wasn't just about the competition as 140 Oscar hopefuls tried to keep cool. Helen Mirren truly did seem like a queen for the day, meeting applause with an Elizabeth-like wave and a non-Elizabeth-like curtsy. The crowd embraced director Martin Scorsese, coming off his weekend win at the Directors Guild Awards. But it was Peter O'Toole who brought the house to its feet. Producer Laura Ziskin tucked a Mark Twain quote into the gift bags: "It takes three weeks to prepare a good off-the-cuff speech." Winners take heed.

-- John Horn and Sheigh Crabtree

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