It's a flash-bulb frenzy as the nominees arrive for the annual luncheon. Beatty, Bening, and Billy Bob stayed in their shades, while others got better acquainted with Oscar.
Many of the actors at the luncheon have been nominated before, but even they admit that one just doesn't get used to all the attention.
"The first time around was my first time on the ride," says Geoffrey Rush. "Now I know there are these scary loopy bits where they leave you hanging upside down a bit before they plunge you down again."
Rush, who won the best actor Oscar in 1996 for Shine, is nominated as supporting actor this year for his role in Shakespeare in Love.
"It's 32 years since I was nominated, and I'm not sure I'm going to be around in another 32, so this would be really cool," says Lynn Redgrave, nominated as supporting actress for Gods and Monsters. She was up for the Oscar in 1966 for Georgy Girl. (That year, the winner was Elizabeth Taylor for Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?)
"It's fantastic," says Brenda Blethyn, who is in the running as best supporting actress for Little Voice. "I was astonished the first time around. You don't expect lightning to strike twice in the same place." Blethyn was nominated in the category of best actress for Secrets and Lies in 1996, the year Frances McDormand won for Fargo.
Two Australian actresses are first-time nominees: Cate Blanchett (best actress, Elizabeth) and Rachel Griffiths (best supporting actress, Hilary and Jackie).
"From the moment that someone rang me at two in the morning and said, 'You've got a nomination,' it's a fantastic feeling," says Griffiths.
"As soon as you're nominated, people are talking about how you're going to feel if you win, and you don't get to enjoy the thrill and honor that a nomination truly is," Blanchett observes.
Director Steven Spielberg's World War II epic Saving Private Ryan has already won a closetful of awards, and Spielberg admits he's feeling the pressure.
"When you do have a shot, it doesn't mean you're going to win," he says. "But if you do have a shot, it's torture."
The Academy Awards will be handed out March 21.