"It's bittersweet for me," said Jessica Chastain of her Best Actress nomination for "Zero Dark Thirty." "I'm so excited, but I also feel the shock of Kathryn not being nominated."
Kathryn, of course, is "ZDT" director Kathryn Bigelow, whose failure to receive a Best Director nomination was one of the major surprises of the Oscar nominations. Bigelow's film is up for five awards, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay (Mark Boal) and Best Actress (Chastain), but its director was left out of a baffling category that also overlooked Ben Affleck for "Argo" and Tom Hooper for "Les Miserables."
"The film is so fearless and bold, and it has Kathryn's stamp all over it," said Chastain when she spoke to TheWrap after flying to Los Angeles from New York on Thursday afternoon. "I have to use a sports analogy, because my family is really into sports: If your team is going to the Super Bowl, you don't get there without your coach."
Although Chastain was an odds-on favorite to land a nomination, as well as a strong contender for the win, she said she refused to believe everyone who told her so.
"I always think it's the kiss of death when somebody says, 'Oh, you've got this,'" said Chastain, who last year was nominated for "The Help" after a year in which she'd also appeared in "The Tree of Life," "Take Shelter" and several other films.
"Last year I didn't think I was going to get nominated. I thought I made too many movies, and I'd get lost. And this year, maybe because I'm a pessimist and because so many people kept saying that I was going to get it, I thought, I'm not going to get a nomination. I'll be this year's big upset."
She found out, she said, on the airplane from New York, where she's been appearing on Broadway in "The Heiress." She boarded the plane before the nominations were announced and went to sleep; when she woke up, the announcement had been made.
"I knew there was internet on the plane, and I knew some of the people on the plane," she said. "A good 15 minutes went by where nobody said anything to me, so I thought, OK, I didn't get nominated, I was right. And then the incredible Kathryn Bigelow walked over to me and mouthed, 'Congratulations on your Oscar nomination.'"
That Bigelow is the one who told her, she said, made the shock even stronger when she learned that her director wasn't nominated.
"The movie being nominated for Best Picture, that's because of Kathryn," she said. "Me being nominated for Best Actress, that's because of Kathryn."