The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon on Monday at the Ray Dolby Ballroom in Hollywood began with a moment of silence for the victims of Sunday’s helicopter crash that killed Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others.
AMPAS president David Rubin began his remarks at the annual event with the call for a moment of silence. He remarked that it was just two years ago that Bryant was at this very event, nominated for an Animated Short Oscar for his Dear Basketball. It ended up winning.
Created on the eve of his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, Dear Basketball, animated by Glen Keane with music by John Williams, was narrated by Bryant and describes his love for the game, and how he and the sport have given each other all they have. “I don’t know if it’s possible. I mean, as basketball players we’re really supposed to shut-up and dribble, but I’m glad we do a little bit more than that,” he said during his Oscar acceptance speech in 2018.
He also thanked his family for their support, ending with an Italian phrase “Ti amo con tutto il mio cuore: You are my inspiration.”
Bryant’s death has reverberated throughout the entertainment world, with Sunday night’s Grammy Awards at the Lakers’ Staples Center home full of tributes big (an opening number from Alicia Keys and Boyz II Men, and a later tribute to Nipsey Hussle) and small (Bryant’s No. 24 Lakers jersey appeared in performances from Lil Nas X, and Run D.M.C. and Aerosmith).
Also at the Oscar luncheon today, Rubin said in his remarks the Academy has reached 95% of its funding goal for its Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The $400 million museum, announced seven years ago but delayed several times, is tentatively scheduled to open this year. More details are expected on the funding front later today, he said.
The annual luncheon concludes as every year with the Oscar Class Photo. Stay with Deadline for that and more of Deadline’s coverage of the day.
The 92nd Oscars are February 9 live on ABC from the Dolby Theater at Hollywood & Highland.