Actors talk about this morning's announcement

Main story | Reactions | Nominees list

“I’m at the Indian premiere and we just got the word of the Oscar nominations. You have no idea what an explosive combination that is. It’s going crazy out here. The red carpet was everybody singing and dancing their way down it. The Indians are so proud to have made a film that’s recognized in America this way. At the time, I thought the film was going straight to DVD. From that to this is kind of unimaginable, really. It was a film with subtitles and no stars and a cast that no one has heard of. You come to Mumbai and you learn the people here have this extraordinary generosity of spirit. We tried to get that in the film. For once in my life, I think we achieved what we set out to do.”
–Simon Beaufoy, adapted screenplay, “Slumdog Millionaire”

* * *

“I didn’t want to get ahead of myself and wanted to guard against being disappointed. I tried to be very cool and sleep through it. I got in from Washington, D.C., and decided to spend the night at my parents’ apartment and had anxiety dreams all night, getting up every hour. At 8:30 we were all sitting on the couch. I think my parents cheered louder than anyone.”
– Anne Hathaway, actress, “Rachel Getting Married”

* * *

“It feels surreal. I just got a call from Javier Bardem in Spain and he was flipping out and screaming. The reality is I got up at 5:55 here in Utah and looked at the clock and figured the nominations were announced and it didn’t happen. I said to myself, ‘That’s OK. I can deal with it.’ Then I realized there’s a one-hour time difference.”
– Josh Brolin, supporting actor, “Milk”

* * *

“The reason we’re here is that the audience didn’t know what to expect with this film. They expected to admire it, but it entertained them on different levels. It was what Peter (Morgan) understood about this. We took nothing for granted. We had our fingers crossed as it had done well in all the major award seasons programs but still, this is the grandaddy. It was a huge relief.”
– Ron Howard, director, “Frost/Nixon”

* * *

“It’s delightfully surprising. I had no expectations. A very close friend called me, as I had no idea it was televised. It’s remarkable how many people are calling me. What does all of this mean? Four letters: W-O-R-K.”
– Melissa Leo, actress, “Frozen River”

* * *

“It’s weird, a big surprise. You learn not to have expectations. My son-in-law called and then the phone started ringing. I love this profession. I love film. Not to sound Pollyanna, but it’s an honor to be part of this whole thing.”
– Richard Jenkins, actor, “The Visitor”

* * *

“I just flew in to L.A. last night and was with Salma Hayek and we watched together. Afterward, I fell back asleep for an hour. It’s great to start getting phone calls and people are so happy for you. Woody is so honest and was very shy at the beginning but then he gets to know you and relaxes. We’ve become friends. I call him when I’m in New York and we hang out together.”
– Penelope Cruz, supporting actress, “Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

* * *

“The best thing is that it was my best friend from New York who called and told me. She was so happy, she was crying and I’m like, ‘What has happened?’… The beauty of the whole thing is that it wasn’t my publicist who called.”
– Marisa Tomei, supporting actress, “The Wrestler”

* * *

“I was at a midnight screening last night here at Sundance and was up until 3 a.m. I was sound asleep and then a little shell-shocked when the calls started coming in. For me, it raises the bar and expecations, but that’s exciting. I’ve been an actor for almost 20 years and started as low as you can on the totem pole. It’s kind of mind-blowing. I’m looking forward to what it may bring in the future.”
– Michael Shannon, supporting actor, “Revolutionary Road”

* * *

“I didn’t sleep all night. I screamed in my husband’s ear and drank some Champagne. When you’re acknowledged like this, you feel confident that you’ve reached people and you’re on the right path. That’s a basic need of any human being, expecially when you’re living out a dream like I am.”
– Viola Davis, supporting actress, “Doubt”

* * *

“I was sleeping, because that’s my technique, and I just got it on my phone when I turned it on. It’s just as good as the first time. Well, almost as good. It’s huge that we were able to get so many nominations for the story that we felt was so important. It’s really great for the movie and for the progress of Harvey’s efforts as a gay politician.”
– Gus Van Sant, director, “Milk”

* * *

“We have this extraordinary premiere, but the premiere of the premiere was the announcement from the Academy … I’m thrilled for the editor, Chris Dickens — he’s here, sort of on holiday. But he wasn’t expecting anything; he’s turned up in jeans and flip-flops. We got him up on stage. He’s blushing and feeling very under-dressed. The stars aligned for us tonight in a way that’s not explicable, really. Words can’t account for it. I’ll have to sort out a coherent response. Or maybe I shouldn’t bother.”
–Danny Boyle, director, “Slumdog Millionaire”

* * *

“There’s no question ‘The Reader’ is a provocative and controversial film. I sincerely hope this allows the debate around the film to continue and allow more people to see it and make their own judgments on what the film is trying to talk about.”
– Stephen Daldry, director, “The Reader”

* * *

“My virginity is lost. It was painless and pleasure was involved. With musicians and film people, it’s like cows grazing in the field and the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence. So in some ways it’s a more exciting adventure being in the film world than in my own back yard. We’re just about to do a short tour in South America, so it’s not the most convenient time. So on the one hand, my little voice was saying ‘It’ll be a relief (not to get it).’ On the other hand my reaction was ‘F-ing great!’ ”
–Peter Gabriel, song, “Down to Earth” from “Wall-E”

* * *

“It feels pretty good, but it’s very disappointing about Sally (Hawkins). I can’t believe any actress was better or more pronounced or complex this year. Getting the strucure and narrative drive of the thing was quite tough. At the same time, we had a great buzzing time doing it.”
– Mike Leigh, original screenplay, “Happy-Go-Lucky”

* * *

“This is extraordinarily gratifying. We always felt the story of Harvey Milk was important and wanted to bring it to as many people as possible. We didn’t think our little movie would be so wonderfully received. Eight noms will go such a long way for this story.”
– Bruce Cohen, producer, “Milk”

* * *

“I was awoken by the news. I’m in New York, but a late riser. I’m kind of over the moon about it. I didn’t think any film that comes out that early is thought of in these terms. We all liked the script and it’s great recognition for all the work.”
– Martin McDonagh, original screenplay, “In Bruges”

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“I happen to love the people I did this one with. It’s real satisfying to feel like you have some kind of acceptance and success, that people like your work. What’s nice is I wrote this for my mom when she was passing away, so this is special.”
– Eric Roth, adapted screenplay, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

* * *

“I’m stuck in London traffic, but it’s so much nicer to be in Europe when this stuff happens because it’s later in the day. The film is political but entertaining and the credit goes to Ron (Howard). He takes the experience the audience has at the cinema very seriously.”
– Peter Morgan, adapted screenplay, “Frost/Nixon”

* * *

“Oh my God, it’s really unreal. I started crying when I heard Gus’s name mentioned, which is way before they get to screenplay. That’s when it really started to hit. By the end when I saw eight nominations, it was just the overwhelming excitement that Harvey Milk’s message is going to get out to small towns that haven’t yet gotten the film. I just started to weep. It’s just the best day.”
–Dustin Lance Black, original screenplay, “Milk”

* * *

“I’m through the moon, it’s awesome. We got six nominations, the most ever for a Pixar movie. I have business in L.A., so I was in a hotel and got room service to wake me up. I knew John Lasseter was up because this was like a sporting event for him, so I’ve spoken to him. We knew we had a real good shot at best animated feature but the rest is an unknown. I was completely ecstatic about original screenplay. I worked incredibly hard at that. It’s the craft I probably worked the hardest at, so that really meant a lot to me.”
– Andrew Stanton, animated feature, original screenplay, “Wall-E”

* * *

“I’m pretty excited. My parents built their house in 1955; (the film) did remind me so much of growing up in the ‘50s. I grew up on a farm outside of Rochester, New York where we ran a cider mill. It’s really exciting: My mother said, ‘I never thought I’d know anyone who got an Oscar nomination, and for it to be my daughter…’ ”
–Debra Schutt, art direction, “Revolutionary Road”

* * *

“This particular one is particularly sweet. It’s a very difficult subject matter. We made a film about a relationship between a war criminal and an underage man, but we’ve had a phenonemal response. Because of the subject matter, it hasn’t been easy to get people to the cinema but now we have a chance at attracting a much wider audience.”
– David Hare, adapted screenplay, “The Reader”

* * *

“I was trying to get the results on the Internet when my dad called from the East Coast; he was watching it live. He’s so excited. As I was talking to him his phone was ringing off the hook, so he had a busy morning. It’s truly incredible and bizarre and an incredible honor. For me it’s particularly great because I was nominated for my short 10 years ago.”
–Mark Osborne, animated feature, “Kung Fu Panda”

* * *

“I had a hard time sleeping last night because I was anticipating I had a good shot. Finally my iPhone lit up with a text from a producer friend of mine. It’s not the same level of excitement as the first time, but each year brings something special. This is the first year my kids are old enough to go, so I’ll try to bring them. They’re so excited about it.”
–Wally Pfister, cinematography, “The Dark Knight”

* * *

“It’s a story about triumph and the resilience of both a couple and a community. It’s also about people abandoned long before the storm. Katrina appalled the American public and it was the downfall of the Bush administration. This couple rescued their community and transformed their lives.”
– Tia Lessin, documentary, “Trouble the Water”

* * *

“I’m really pleased for everyone who worked on that film. I did the first section and then it shut down because of casting issues. I don’t think there were many films this year that were about anything and this one was. It raised questions about the war and the continuing effect it has on people’s lives.”
– Roger Deakins, cinematographer, “The Reader”

* * *

“It’s pretty extraordinary. I don’t quite know what to say. It was a story that needed to be told and it was told at the right time. This was my first film with Gus (Van Sant). I sort of stalked him to get the job and he screwed up and hired me. He was always willing to try anything new and narratively different.”
– Elliot Graham, film editor, “Milk”

* * *

“It’s amazing. I certainly didn’t see this coming at all. I’m a good Oscar predictor and nearly slept in, thinking, ‘Let ‘Slumdog’ have it all.’ I don’t know what to say. Now a lot more people will go and see the movie and that’s why you make movies and enter the Oscar race.”
– Donna Gigliotti, producer, “The Reader”

* * *

“I’m very happy. I’m in Barcelona right now and we were getting a guided tour of the beautiful concert hall and my phone started buzzing. I couldn’t answer because I didn’t want to interrupt the tour. It’s beyond anything Chris Williams and I have ever experienced. It’s an amazing medium and I’m so proud to be a part of the (animation) industry. It’s a small industry so when anyone does good work, we all win.”
– Byron Howard, animated feature, “Bolt”

* * *

“I watched the announcements on TV and I was rooting for Gus (Van Sant) and Josh (Brolin) and everyone. Then I was about to turn the TV off and go back to bed and my brother called and was the first to tell me. It’s so wonderful, because working on this story with Sean (Penn) and with Gus were high points in my career. And to have this recognition makes me think I didn’t screw it up.
– Danny Glicker, costume design, “Milk”

* * *

“I am in Copenhagen and miscalculated the time difference. I was working away, but got called by some very clever radio producers in London who found out about it. I didn’t quite believe it. Without being self-mocking, it’s kind of ridiculous, it’s preposterous in a way. You’re just overwhelmed that this is the biggest honor you can get as a filmmaker. Probably a lot of documentary filmmakers feel that way, that we’re going to breathe the same air as those other people for one night. It’s just an an amazing honor for us.”
– James Marsh, documentary feature, “Man on Wire”

* * *

“I’m scouting in the middle of a quarry in Wales and there were 10 to 20 minutes with no reception. I was thinking, ‘Oh, bloody hell.’ Then I got a bunch of calls. I’m very flattered. It’s always an honor to be appreciated by your peers, and that’s what’s special about the (visual effects) bakeoff, you have to get past your peers.”
– Nick Davis, visual effects, “The Dark Knight”

* * *

“I couldn’t sleep all night. I was Golden Globe nominated so I was hoping to get a nomination here too. I was watching on TV. I’m happy and thrilled about this nomination and honored to be in the company of the other nominees. It doesn’t get much better than that. It’s the best thing that can happen to a filmmaker, to get an Oscar nomination.”
– Uli Edel, foreign-language film helmer and co-writer, “The Baader Meinhof Complex”

* * *

“We’ve had our fair share of bad luck making this film but we’ve also had our share of alignment of the stars. To be here tonight premiering the film
in Mumbai, that was going to be a massive event in itself. To combine that with 10 nominations, given that we made a film about destiny, feels sort of magical. There’s such intense pride in the city about what’s happening. It feels great and we’re grateful to the Academy. It’s just incredibly emotional here. We’ve been away for a year. We came back for some pickups. This was the night we were all going to be reunited. Everyone’s absolutely thrilled.”
– Christian Colson, producer, “Slumdog Millionaire”

* * *

“I was asleep. I was called by friends in New York and for a moment I was breathless and then I was thrilled. It never changes, you never take it for granted and it’s always like the first time, especially this moment, when you don’t have to think about winning and losing.”
–Albert Wolsky, costume design, “Revolutionary Road”

* * *

“I was out shopping and my wife called me; she was watching on the telly. I’ve waited 35 years for this. I don’t think I’ll be able to wait around for the next one. I’m overwhelmed, actually. It’s my first Oscar nomination. It’s about the sixth time I’ve been in the bakeoff, but I’ve never been nominated. It’s very gratifying it’s the best work I’ve ever done as a crew and I’m so proud of the guys.”
– Chris Corbourld, visual effects, “The Dark Knight”

* * *

“It’s always a fun morning to wake up and get recognized. Peter (Gabriel) is a very respectful guy and within a matter of a day and a half, we had the form for a song. We had a several digital conversations. It was thrilling to work that way and an effective manner of collaboration.”
–Thomas Newman, original song and original score, “Wall-E”

* * *

“I was up at 5 a.m. anyway, rocking my baby back to sleep. I went to my office and looked on the computer and saw my name there. Then I refreshed the page just to make sure it was real. Just yesterday, the Gates Foundation gave $630 million for polio eradication and this will add more momentum. This is a disease no one thinks about anymore, but it’s a significant problem in the poorer parts of the world.”
– Irene Taylor Brodsky, docu short subject, “The Final Inch”

* * *

“I’m at home in Chennai, in South India. My agent called from L.A. Initially they had the three announcements, for directing and screenplay and best picture. He said ‘We got three.’ I said ‘Three, I know.’ He said ‘No, three for music.’ I think it’s a happy day for all Indians, not that we won it, but the nomination speaks volumes. I’ve been doing some English movies, but I never thought this particular film would get so much recognition. I did it because I liked the film, I liked Danny Boyle.”
– A.R. Rahman, original score, original songs “Jai Ho” and “O Saya”, “Slumdog Millionaire”

* * *

“I’m very happy and very proud. If I go see a film and sit for two and a half hours and the lights go up I like to feel that it touched me, and I believe this film has touched people for whatever reason. I’m also very proud of having written the screenplay and that the film works. Certainly people are thinking of global terrorism, but you can also make a lot of boring films on the subject.”
–Bernd Eichinger, foreign-language film, “The Baader Meinhof Complex”

* * *

“It’s a big shock, actually. I didn’t think it would happen. I’ve known Roger (Deakins, his co-cinematographer) a long time . We think in a similar way. The hardest thing for me was the stop-start (production halted for 67 days) and not getting up a head of steam.”
– Chris Menges, cinematographer, “The Reader”

* * *

“I’m feeling very excited, deeply honored and kind of giddy, because it’s always really fun and it’s a feeling you never get used to. This is an especially gratifying one because I’m deeply personally attached to the story. I didn’t find out I was Jewish until I was in my mid-30s because my father died in an accident when I was 10. He’d changed the name from Horowitz to Howard. I found out additionally my grandparents were from Eastern Europe. The more I worked on the movie, the more haunting it became.”
–James Newton Howard, original score, “Defiance”

* * *

“I’m pleased with how ILM did on the film. I was proud of the work on the other films, but there’s something special about ‘Iron Man.’ I guess as you get older and get more experienced in the business, you realize how special it is and that it doesn’t come around every year. And I became a member of the Academy last year, so it means more to me.”
–Ben Snow, visual effects, “Iron Man”

* * *

“I couldn’t be better. It’s fabulous. First of all, I’m French, not American. Second, I’m a movie fan. I’ve been watching movies since I was 14 and dreaming of the Oscars and of all the great composers that have come before. To be one of so many is fabulous. Once is once, twice is twice. You know what’s different? When you hit once, you think, ‘I’ve been very lucky and it’s great.’ When you hit twice, you think, ‘I’ve been lucky, but I’ve been working very hard.’ So the second time is even more rewarding, because it means your journey is a long one and lasts longer than you would ever expect.”
– Alexandre Desplat, original score, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

* * *

“I’ve never worked on feature animation before. Everything moved faster than live action. It was a sound designer’s dream project. The story is told in sound effects and music. Andrew (Stanton) and I worked together by making sounds against the storyboards and doing mixes.”
– Ben Burtt, sound editing and sound mixing, “Wall-E”

* * *

“I was in a fabric shop prepping for a job, surrounded by fabrics, when the production designer called. And then I couldn’t concentrate. I can’t believe I got a nomination. Just to participate is going to be such fun. I’ve had lots of friends who have been nominated or got Oscars, so I’m very excited It’s my turn to go. It’s not even about winning. Just being nominated is so fantastic.”
–Rebecca Alleway, art direction, “The Duchess”

* * *

“It’s pretty stunning. To be able to get two nominations in a single category and work with David Fincher and Andrew Stanton in the same year, I’m just overwhelmed. I was lying in bed and my wife ran upstairs to tell me and soon my phone was ringing off the hook. To be recognized in the two films I mixed last year, my heart’s pounding. Is this possible? I guess it is. I’m trying to take it all in and enjoy it.”
– Michael Semanick, sound mixing, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” and “Wall-E”

* * *

“I was making coffee in the kitchen. It feels wonderful, I’m so excited, excited for David (Fincher) and Cean (Chaffin) who gave birth to the baby, and for Eric Roth, it was such a great collaboration. It’s no less exciting (the second time), there’s nothing like it. You feel like queen for a day.”
–Jacqueline West, costume design, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

* * *

“It’s my birthday! It’s a pretty amazing birthday present. I felt the most emotion with David (Fincher)’s nomination. I was surprised to see myself welling up. I thought I was a little harder than that. It’s only my second movie, so I don’t have a lot of knowledge of Hollywood and how it works so I feel like an outsider that’s been let in. I feel like a passenger on a speeding train. It’s incredible.”
–Kir
k Baxter, film editing, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

* * *

“We’re incredibly excited, not only for myself but this is a huge nod for my team that worked so hard and the other visual effects teams. It’s kind of overwhelming. I was driving in and started thinking about all the hard work it takes just to get an opportunity. I started in this business doing episodic TV for Steven Spielberg and came (to Digital Domain) to do commercials. David Fincher got me and was willing to give me opportunities. He believed in me.”
– Eric Barba, visual effects, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

* * *

“I’m in the middle of a hectic pre-production and had forgotten about the Oscars, but it was a great way to start the day. For a designer, a period film gives you guidelines and rules you have to follow, which is helpful in some ways. The challenge for us in this film was to make it in a contemporary way.”
– Michael Carlin, art direction, “The Duchess”

* * *

“It’s not real for me right now. I have to think about it and take the time to realize what’s happening. The film is grabbing the audience through the energy in each scene. The way the children act and then laugh and get tense. It also deals with more universal issues: The relationship to power, knowledge and what it means to be part of community.”
– Laurent Cantent, foreign-language film, “The Class”

* * *

“We were worried about Melissa (Leo’s) nomination because the competition was tight. When they called her name we started to scream-cry and ran out of the room. We met up in the kitchen and came back in just in time for when they called my name. I’m still pretty much in disbelief. It feels like the year of the underdog, and who’s pulling themselves up by their bootstraps. It’s beautiful to see that a tiny film that’s big in spirit can break through and be considered with the big films.”
– Courtney Hunt, original screenplay, “Frozen River”

* * *

“I’m a nocturnal worker so because of that I go to sleep with all my phones turned off. I saw a text message saying `congratulations’ and I wrote back asking `for what?’ True to form for me, I thought the Oscar nominations were tomorrow. The thing that I’m happily surprised for most of all is the great number of nominations `Milk’ got.”
– Danny Elfman, original score, “Milk”

* * *

“We are clearly delighted by it. We love the film, it’s a gorgeous film and deserves its nomination. This orientation toward world cinema was a new direction for us this year, and in our first year we got an Oscar nomination. We have worked very hard to focus on the very best foreign films in the market this year. We had been focused primarily on the gay and lesbian niches we had built. We said it was time to transcend the genre we were working in and look at the next genre.”
– Paul Colichman, prexy of Regent Releasing, distributor of foreign-language film “Departures”

* * *

Frank Langella, who earned his first-ever Oscar bid for “Frost/Nixon,” sounded happy Thursday morning as he exited a “Today” interview with Matt Lauer. The actor, who is re-creating his stage performance in the based-on-fact film, said “I’m relieved and grateful.”
– Frank Langella, actor, “Frost/Nixon”

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