2017 Oscars: Nominees gather at annual luncheon

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The contenders of 2017 Oscars gathered for the annual nominee luncheon.

As the Academy Awards quickly approach, Hollywood's biggest stars kicked off the festivities with the annual Oscar nominee luncheon Monday afternoon.

The event was more of an informal affair, as every nominee was celebrated and greeted by Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

Unlike Oscar Sunday, the stars didn't show up in gowns and tuxedos. The event was more relaxed, like friends meeting up for lunch, except many of the friends happened to be famous.

After the nominees finished posing and smiling for the press photographers, they made their way into the ballroom to eat lunch.

Following the meal, each nominee was introduced and made his or her way to the front of the room. With more than 150 nominees present, the introductions took some time.

One-by-one, all the nominees stood shoulder-to-shoulder in what's become known as the class photo.

The biggest difference with the class photo of 2017 was noticeable: it was more diverse.

The Academy made it a priority be more inclusive and widen its membership with 683 new members. Several actors involved in Oscar nominated films said they appreciate the changes.

"I've seen a lot of the performances and they deserve to be here," Dev Patel, who is nominated for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in "Lion," said. "They're not being thrust into the limelight because of the color of their skin. They're being thrust into the limelight because of their talent and that's beautiful."

"We're seeing everyone's talents on display and showing what we can do, whether it be dramatic film, comedic wise, for men of color, for black men and black women," Russell Hornsby of "Fences" explained. "There's a lot of talent on display and it just shows who we are and what we're capable of and now we've gotten that opportunity so I think now we're setting a precedent with the work. I think that will be the charge and lay the groundwork for what's to come."

Watch the 89th Oscars hosted by Jimmy Kimmel on Sunday, February 26 at 7 p.m. ET | 4 p.m. PT on ABC.

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entertainmentOscarsacademy awardsaward shows

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