Last year's winner, Jeff Bridges, knows from experience that this isn't a competition.
"It's an honor to be in the presences of these honorees," said Bridges, a nominee for best actor. "I'm taking my mother's advice: have fun, not take it too seriously."
About 151 nominees showed up to the Beverly Hills event, including Jesse Eisenberg, who joked that Academy Awards season feels like the endless bar mitzvahs he went to when he was 13.
"It's been very nice, the alternative is worse -- no one likes your movie," said the nominee for best actor. "I've experienced that, and this is better. It's been an honor to be part of this very long and overwhelming experience."
Nominees shared a fine meal at the luncheon, whose menu featured appetizers of Indochina-spiced beef with avocado mousse, an entrée of Alaskan black cod and a dessert selection that included mini lemon meringue tarts with blueberries and raspberry sorbet in cookie shells.
"Every single thing that's happened since making it has surpassed any expectation possible," said Jennifer Lawrence, who is up for the best actress award.
Speaking to members of the media, James Franco addressed the criticism behind being selected, along with Anne Hathaway, to co-host the show.
"It was funny to me when the announcement was made about Anne and I hosting because a lot of reaction was, 'Oh, an obvious ploy by the academy to bring in younger viewers,' -- and yeah, duh," Franco said. "Is that a bad thing?"
This year's Oscar ceremony is set to air live on ABC7 from the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles on Feb. 27, 2011. Check out a full list of Oscar nominations.
ABC7 and OnTheRedCarpet.com are your news sources for Oscars coverage. Live coverage from the Oscar red carpet begins at 2 p.m. PT. "On The Red Carpet at the Oscars" broadcasts LIVE on ABC7. We're also streaming the show online and on the free On The Red Carpet iPad app, available now in iTunes.
When the last awards have been given out, watch continuing coverage of the Governor's Ball and all the Oscar night parties as "On The Red Carpet at the Oscars" broadcasts LIVE on on ABC7. We're also streaming the show online and on the iPad app.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.