Celebrating Long Shots and Outcasts

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 “I’m just figuring we don’t have a chance,” Rory Kennedy said.Credit Danny Moloshok/Reuters

Updated, 5:39 p.m. | WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Rory Kennedy was fully expecting not to go home with the Oscar for best documentary feature on Sunday, yet nonetheless she was in high spirits Friday, at a sun-dappled lunch in the courtyard of the famous, and infamous, Chateau Marmont hotel.

“I’m a documentary filmmaker,” she said to the several dozen attendees, “This” – she waved to the white-linen-draped tables topped with carefully wrought small bouquets – “is not something we’re used to.”

Ms. Kennedy’s “Last Days in Vietnam” tells the wrenching tale of the hundreds of Vietnamese promised sanctuary then abandoned by Americans as Saigon fell: the last helicopters left the roof of the American Embassy without them.

Distributed by American Experience Films/PBS, it’s a very long shot for the documentary Oscar – “I’m just figuring we don’t have a chance,” Ms. Kennedy said merrily – and didn’t have bank that backed other campaigns, like that of “Citizenfour,” distributed by Radius, a unit of the Weinstein Company. Indeed, during luncheon chitchat, Ms. Kennedy seemed more concerned with the seven feet of snow paralyzing Boston. She did add, wryly, that during the Oscar ceremony, she would probably be the one wanting to be helicoptered away.

The luncheon, held by Dom Perignon, drew a grab bag of guests: Julian Sands, Cheryl Hines, Nicky Hilton, Peter Fonda, Maria Shriver, Minnie Driver and Andre Balazs, the hotelier behind the Chateau Marmont. The Bagger was seated by “American Experience’s” executive producer Mark Samels, who was among the many Northeasterners happy to be in town and escaping the frigidity home.

The Bagger shared another point of solidarity with him: he hadn’t been invited to Vanity Fair’s ballyhooed Oscar afterparty either. Viva los outcasts!

Correction: Feb. 21, 2015
An earlier…

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