LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Some of the biggest names in show business broke bread — along with more high-end fare — at the annual Oscar nominees luncheon at the Beverly Hilton on Monday.

KNX 1070’s Jon Baird reports an all-star cast dined on caviar and marinated Alaskan Black Cod — and at least one nominee was just grateful for the free lunch.

Annette Bening, Nicole Kidman, Jeff Bridges, Natalie Portman and other nominees spoke briefly about their chances of taking home the statue, while Mark Ruffalo — nominated for his supporting role in “The Kids Are All Right” — expressed surprise at simply seeing their name on the list.

Jesse Eisenberg, up for Best Actor for his turn as Facebook found Mark Zuckerberg in “The Social Network”, joked that Academy Awards season feels like the endless bar mitzvahs he went to when
he was 13.

James Franco was doing double-duty at the lunch, a best-actor nominee for “127 Hours” and preparing for his gig as co-host of the Oscars with Anne Hathaway.

TV ratings for the Oscars have fallen from their peak decades ago, and the show’s producers have been trying to spice up the ceremony in recent years to hook a new generation of fans. Franco mused over criticism that followed the announcement of him and Hathaway, a switch away from older veteran comics as hosts.

“A lot of the reaction was, oh, an obvious ploy by the academy to bring in younger viewers,” Franco said. “Yeah! Duh! Is that a bad thing? I mean, how is that a criticism?”

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)


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