Some 115 nominees show up for the lunch, the Associated Press reports. Swank and Bening are both up for Best Actress for their roles in Million Dollar Baby and Being Julia, respectively. It's a familiar contest to Oscar fans, as the two actresses went head-to-head for the same award five years ago when Swank's performance in Boys Don't Cry bested Bening's in American Beauty.
The match-up is "just one of those coincidences," said Bening. "It's a good story, I guess."
This year's race could also mark the turning point for some legendary careers, notably Martin Scorsese, who received the Best Director nomination for the fifth time for The Aviator, which snagged 11 nominations in all.
As the nominees ate and posed for pictures, Academy Awards producer Gil Cates announced some major changes to the ceremony. One of the biggest changes, Cates said, is that not all winners will come to the stage to accept their awards. Some will be handed their statues by presenters in the audience, while other categories will have all nominees called to the stage as the winner's name is read. In some cases it will be done as it has been, with the winner making the trip directly to the stage. The goal, said Cates, is to "get more of the nominees seen on television," Reuters reports.
The 77th Academy Awards will be broadcast Feb. 27 on ABC.