More than 100 shortlisted candidates attended the annual Academy Awards nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills on Monday, the traditional curtain-raiser for Hollywood's biggest night.
Britain's Kate Winslet, up for best actress for The Reader, joked she was "too emotional". "I wish there was some lessons in how to cope with awards seasons," she told reporters.
Director Danny Boyle (right) - whose film Slumdog Millionaire is tipped to win this year's best picture prize - shared a few words with Anne Hathaway, nominated alongside Winslet in the best actress category.
Hathaway also had a hug for Penelope Cruz, whose work in Woody Allen's Vicky Cristina Barcelona has won her a second Oscar nod. The Spanish star said she did not want to "obsess" about winning.
Amy Adams, up for best supporting actress for the second time, looked the belle of the ball in this turquoise dress. The 34-year-old said she was "a lot more relaxed" this time around.
Another supporting actress hopeful, Taraji P Henson of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button fame, was all smiles as she posed with her film's Oscar-nominated director, David Fincher.
But former Oscar winner Sean Penn (right) cut a more sombre figure as he posed with director Gus Van Sant. Both have been recognised this year for their political biopic Milk.
Robert Downey Jr, pictured with his producer wife Susan, has been shortlisted for his work in Tropic Thunder. "The funny thing is I was playing an Oscar-crazed weirdo," he laughed.
Penn's main competition in the best actor race is thought to come from Mickey Rourke, who said his Oscar-nominated role as a washed-up fighter in The Wrestler had given him "a second chance".
Rourke's Wrestler co-star Marisa Tomei, up for best supporting actress for the third time, revealed she had chosen the vegetarian plate at the luncheon. "It looked nice and fresh," she explained.