The actors and friends both seemed in jovial mood as they spoke to the assembled press before sitting down to a lunch of chopped vegetable salad, seared fillet of Atlantic salmon, and a trio of sorbets in a chocolate cup.
"I thought I'd get here early, free booze," quipped George, who said he was looking forward to seeing old friends including Brad and Viola Davis, who he revealed had once used his Lake Como villa for her honeymoon.
"A lot of people at home think we all hang out together all the time and drink champagne," he said. "The truth is I hadn't seen Brad in about a year. So it's fun to catch up, and it's fun to see people I like and haven't seen in a long time."
George is nominated for Best Actor for his role in The Descendants, which is also nominated for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Director for Alexander Payne, who George credited with "giving me the role of a lifetime".
Moneyball star Brad Pitt, meanwhile, was in equally happy mood, joking about making new friends during a joint press conference with first time nominee and co-star Jonah Hill.
"Yeah, I met this guy named... Jorge Clooney," he laughed. "A nice guy. Very personable. Made some great friends - Jean Dujardin and Damien Bichir which has been a pleasure."
The duo also joked about Brad's love of playing pranks, in which he appears to have been very successful on the Moneyball set.
"I have been a victim of this gentleman's pranks," recalled Jonah. "I call him the Bobby Fischer of pranks because you try to prank him and he's immediately three moves ahead of you, playing a chess game."
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