The event: In the run-up to the Oscars, British Consul General of Los Angeles Chris O’Connor and Academy Award-nominated director Steve McQueen cohosted the Great British Film Reception in Hancock Park on Friday, in partnership with the British Film Commission, as part of the Great Campaign, which spotlights British business, education, tourism, technology, music, sports and heritage.
Celebrating 26 British Oscar nominees in 18 categories, the cocktail party took place on the back lawn of the British official's residence, comfortably tented to shelter guests from the stormy night. And for extra ease of mingling, organizers also offered heel protectors to keep skinny-heeled shoes from sinking into the grass.
The honorees: In addition to McQueen’s “12 Years a Slave,” British honorees represented a bonanza of Sunday’s contenders, including ”All is Lost,” “American Hustle,” “Blue Jasmine,” “Captain Phillips,” “Gravity,” “Iron Man 3,” “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom,” “Philomena,” “Prisoners,” “The Invisible Woman,” “Karama Has No Walls,” “Room on the Broom,” “The Act of Killing,” “The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life,” and “The Voorman Problem.”
Faces in the crowd: Former Scottish football manager and player Alex Ferguson; Sally Hawkins of “Blue Jasmine,” Helen Mirren, Jacqueline Bisset, James Frain, Cary Elwes, Dominic Monaghan, Jared Harris, Ed Westwick, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Lenore Thomas and many more.
Quotes of note: From the podium, O’Connor introduced the many British nominees, saying, “It really brings to mind the incredible variety of skills involved in filmmaking and that UK professionals, UK artists, UK technicians reach the absolute pinnacle of the world’s standard in every single one of those areas.”
For his part McQueen thanked sponsors and congratulated the British talent as well as his American colleagues, saying, “Without them, the film [‘12 Years a Slave’] could not have been made.”
Considering that the film has already won best picture at the Golden Globes and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards, after formalities ended we asked McQueen if he had an acceptance speech at the ready. “There’s a good possibility we will win,” he said, “and there’s a good possibility we won’t."
Ellen Olivier is founder of Society News LA.