Reactions from Tuesday morning’s Oscar nominees:
Best Supporting Actor, “Inglourious Basterds”
At 5:30 I was really sleeping, and my agent woke me up. He’d threatened to do that, and I said, “Don’t wake me up if you’re only going to tell me that I can go back to sleep.” So I assumed, when the phone woke me from my sweet slumber, that it was fantastic news.
I went into this the same way I went in the morning of the Golden Globe nominations, or the Screen Actors Guild, or anything else. I take the praise and the accolades with immense gratitude, but I refrain from further expectations. And I don’t do that because I’m such a philosopher. I do it out of sheer egocentricity, because it makes my life easier and more enjoyable. If I started calculating percentages or computing chances and odds, I’d be wasting my time.
So I’ve trained myself, over the last few months, to not expect anything and not take anything for granted. And I feel like I’ve kicked a nasty habit.
Yes, we have awards shows in Europe, and yes, the carpets are also red. But it’s nothing like it is here. We have the show, and that’s it. We don’t have the season. Of course, all the shows in Europe try to emulate that Oscar buzz – but that’s all it is, an emulation.
Best Actress, “Julie & Julia” (statement)
I am proud and grateful to stand with these women who have given such a range of beautiful, indelible performances this year!!
Best Actor, “The Hurt Locker” (statement)
This is more exhilarating than I could have ever imagined. What a tremendous honor from the Academy– a blazing stamp in the passport of an artist that can never be taken away and will always be cherished.
Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture, “The Hurt Locker”
Maybe it’s my nature, but I watched it with my fingers crossed pretty tightly. And it goes without saying that I was very, very pleased with the outcome.
It really is hard for me to wrap my head conceptually around the idea that I’m in competition with “Avatar” for anything. I mean, I like Jim, and I remember Kathryn calling me and saying, “You have no idea who your best friend is.” “Who?” “Jim Cameron. He’s a huge supporter of your screenplay.” So maybe I should feel competitive with him, but I can’t.
I’m acutely aware of how many writers don’t get to have their passion projects made, and I know it doesn’t always go this way. I mean, when you run into Matt Damon and he says he loves your movie and wants your opinion, it’s pretty good for a guy who always just figured he was an investigative reporter. I’m searching high and low for a downside, and I don’t see one.
Best Actress, “The Last Station” (statement)
I’m very happy and honored for Christopher, myself and our film. I think Tolstoy himself would have been perplexed by all this, but, Sofya his wife would have been over the moon. So in that spirit, I am too.
Best Supporting Actor, “The Last Station” (statement)
I’m absolutely delighted that Helen Mirren and I have both been nominated by the Academy for portraying that stormy couple, The Tolstoys. As I’ve just turned 80, there’s no way it will go to my head.
Best Picture, “Precious”
I talked to Lee Daniels first thing – but we didn’t really talk, we screamed. And then we conferenced Gabby [Sidibe] in as well. Everybody was very, very excited.
This business is so hard to gauge, so this always comes as a surprise to us. But I think people have responded to “Precious” because the movie infiltrates people’s hearts, and makes them think. People leave the theater questioning their lives – but if it wasn’t a positive movie, people wouldn’t react the way they have.
I have no idea what we’re doing later today, but I imagine we’re going to go out to dinner, make lots of phone calls and do lots of cheering. And we’ve made lots of really good friends, like Jeremy Renner, during awards season, so we’ll probably call up some of our fellow winners as well.
Best Actor, “A Single Man” (statement)
I thought I was managing my expectations, but on hearing the news I discovered new and unfamiliar vocal tones. Perhaps I should do another musical.
Best Supporting Actress, “Up in the Air” (statement)
I am thrilled beyond words to be nominated with these talented and inspiring women. Being involved in a film as special as ‘Up in the Air’ was a dream come true. I am overwhelmed and honored by this nomination and am so grateful to be able to share this experience with George, Vera and Jason.
Best Picture, Best Animated Feature, Best Original Screenplay, “Up”
It’s safe to say that it’s a good day at Pixar. I know it’s pretty groundbreaking to get a Best Picture nomination, but we don’t look at our films that way. We just look at them as films. We don’t act as if because they’re animated we have a special “get out of jail free” card that lets us get away with things.
I think “Up” surprised people a little. It’s a bizarre idea, so you might go in not really knowing what to expect. But we worked really hard on the story for three or four years, and tried to make it speak to everyone. Yes, he’s a 78-year-old man who flies his house to South America with balloons. But the things he goes through are things that everybody can relate to.
You try not to have expectations coming into a day like today, because you never know. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Best Director, Best Picture, “The Hurt Locker” (statement)
This is a great honor and a wonderful compliment to everyone who worked on the film. I ‘ ve always believed that the secret to filmmaking is that it is essentially a collaborative medium, and so to get recognized by the various branches of the academy is truly heart-warming, and I know all of us who worked on The Hurt Locker are going to treasure this.
Personally, I’d like to thank the director’s branch for their support.
Best Actress, “The Blind Side” (statement)
Who would have thought after all these years that I would be experiencing this moment now . . . I certainly didn¹t. But I am honored beyond words to experience this journey with John Lee Hancock and Gil Netter, and to continue this astounding ride with the extraordinary women I share this category with. My time with them these past few months has meant more than anything to me.
Best Actor, "Crazy Heart" (statement)
I’m so grateful to have the honor of a fifth Oscar nomination, but to share this with my "Crazy Heart" colleagues T Bone and Ryan and my amazing co-star Maggie is truly special – this film is near and dear to my heart and theirs. I want to thank the Academy for being so kind to me for the past 40 years, and I want to thank my director Scott Cooper for helping bring Bad Blake to life, and to my wonderful wife Sue for being there for me the past 33 years. Today is filled with blessings.
Best Supporting Actress, "Crazy Heart" (statement)
I am thrilled…beyond thrilled. I was completely surprised, overwhelmed and overjoyed this morning when I heard about the nomination. I am so proud of this movie. Working with Jeff was amazing. He opened me up and pushed me so far. I’d love to keep making movies with him over and over again. Scott Cooper wrote such a beautiful script and was so full of love and strength as a director. I am honored and overjoyed!
T Bone Burnett
Best Original Song, “Crazy Heart”
We set the alarm, watched the show, and then went online and looked at the rest of the nominations. And then we went back to bed, because it’s going to be a long day.
This film means a lot to me, and I have to say that I’ve given myself over to it completely. I usually like to stay behind the scenes, but with this film I’ve come out in the daylight a little. Because I love the film, and I think Jeff has deserved this for a long time. The whole thing has been about Jeff, and [writer-director] Scott Cooper, and [the late songwriter] Stephen [Bruton], and this little group we developed.
Probably the happiest moment of the day was seeing Maggie [Gyllenhaal] show up on the television. I called her and got her answering machine. And Jeff didn’t want to be disturbed until eight. But at moments like this, you want to talk to all your friends.
Best Supporting Actress, “Nine” (statement)
I am completely surprised and elated. Rob Marshall is not only a genius but an absolute joy to work with. I woke up every morning excited to collaborate with this amazingly talented group of actors. Filming this movie was such a special experience and to be nominated for this role makes me so happy.
Best Original Song, “Crazy Heart”
After I wrote the song, I made a little demo recording and played it for my wife. At that point I figured, yeah, this might be a good one.
Doing the movie has been a real different thing for me. If it wasn’t for the movie, I’d be in a van somewhere with my band, playing little clubs. So it’s been nice to stay at home for a while, doing interviews and stuff. And then after the Oscars, when this is over, I’ll go back to being just another band in a van.
Best Animated Feature, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” (statement)
I am very honored to have received a an Oscar nomination for "Fantastic Mr. Fox." Roald Dahl’s classic story has been one of my favorite books since I first learned to read, and it was an amazing experience to work with my many, many very skilled collaborators and bring it to life as a stop-motion film! I would like to congratulate Alexandre Desplat, who wrote our wonderful score, for his nomination as well.
Best Supporting Actor, “Invictus” (statement)
To be directed by Clint Eastwood every day and to sit across the table from Morgan Freeman and watch him do what he did was a dream come true. I’m so grateful that this role came my way.
Best Actor, “Invictus” (statement)
I’d like to thank the Academy for this extraordinary honor. Congratulations to Matt Damon on his nomination. I’m especially grateful to Clint Eastwood, "Invictus" producer, Lori McCreary, and the entire cast and crew…Most importantly, thank you to Nelson Mandela for his encouragement, his blessing and his friendship – without which, this film would not have been possible.
Best Adapted Screenplay, “District 9”
When I went to bed last night I thought, would it be presumptuous to set the alarm? And then I realized, hey, I get up and watch it every other year when I don’t have a movie in the running, so why not? And when we were announced for Best Adapted Screenplay, I think I nearly fell off the couch in disbelief.
We never thought this would be an awards movie. When Sony first came to us in September and said they were getting behind the movie for awards season, that took me by surprise. And that was the honor – that was enough to make me feel good forever. But I never thought anything like this would come of it.
I talked to our editor this morning, who also got a nomination. He says he’s getting a tuxedo made.
Best Animated Feature, “Coraline”
We came out last February, so at first I was just worried that people would forget about us. Then I started to get a little bit of confidence – but it all fell apart last night. And basically, I never got to sleep. I’m staying at a hotel with a particularly lumpy bed, and I was floating above it this morning. Fortunately, “Coraline” comes very early in the alphabet, so we were the first movie mentioned.
When I got into animation, there was only Disney, which hadn’t even had its resurgence yet. So it’s great to go from that to what is probably the best year ever for animation. I mean, there have got to be 10 great animated films this year, and another 10 good ones.
Best Adapted Screenplay, “In the Loop”
I had heard people say, “Oh, you might have a chance,” so I didn’t dismiss the idea out of hand. But on the other hand, you think, that doesn’t really happen, does it? So I gave myself a very busy day so I wasn’t staring at TV screens and laptops.
My producer rang me and said, “Well done.” He was watching live, which spared me the horrid stress of anticipation. Tony [Roche], one of the other writers, said he had no idea the nominations were being announced today, so he got home to lots of messages congratulating him, but he had no idea why.
That’s really the way you should do it, I think.
Best Actress, “Precious” (statement)
I am so excited and honored to be recognized by the Academy and included in such a remarkable group of actors. I’m very proud of my film, my cast and extremely grateful to Mr. Daniels for the incredible opportunity to play Precious.
Best Foreign-Language Film, “Un Prophete” (statement)
I have just been told that I am nominated for an Oscar. My first reaction was to turn around and ask if it’s really me that they are talking about. Then, maybe, at the same moment, I became a little bewildered. I think of all these actors, all of the directors who have been in this same place: all of those lovely people who have made me dream and want to do what I do today and, in many respects, brought meaning to my life. So what am I feeling? In short, immense gratitude.
Best Original Screenplay, “The Messenger”
I had high hopes for Woody [Harrelson], but the rest was a big surprise. Because we never thought of the movie in terms of what kind of reception it would get, or how the critics would like it, or anything like that. We were just very determined to make it, and we always knew it would be very hard to get it made.
I didn’t go to the Berlin Film Festival, but we won two prizes there. We won the screenplay award, and also the Peace Prize. And that made me think, for the first time, that people might like this movie. We were supported by the army, but we won the Peace Prize. Maybe we’ve got something here.
Best Adapted Screenplay, "Precious"
I set my alarm and hit snooze once or twice, and then I got up and was having trouble with my televison. So I went to the computer, and on my third or fourth try I found it just before the live announcement. And now I feel as if I’m still staring at that screen and trying to register what I saw. I heard my name, and I saw the lines and circles that make up my name. But it’s hard to really fathom, because it’s so far beyond my wildest expectations.
I had a friend who read the script early on and said that it could get a nomination, and I thought that was the most preposterous, obnoxious, inappropriate thing anybody could say. But he was right. We’re going to have a big talk tonight. I’m going to ask him if he has any tips for me on anything else.