Leonardo DiCaprio, actor, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
There have only been two films that Leonardo DiCaprio would count as passion projects: “The Aviator” and “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
“‘Wolf’ took seven years to get off the ground and ‘Aviator’ was 10. In both cases I really put everything I had to get these films into production. I was lucky to have Martin Scorsese at the helm for both of them,” DiCaprio said. “We went into the venture and let the beast create itself and came out with something special.”
Alfonso Cuaron, director, “Gravity”
“These nominations are not just about single achievements, but rather the collective effort of hundreds of dedicated artists who made this dream a reality. …I am particularly moved by Sandy’s nomination. She is the heartbeat of our film. She immersed herself in the part. And I thank her for her grace, her trust and her dedication to finding the truth of this character.”
Judi Dench, actress, “Philomena”
“This is just the loveliest news.”
Chiwetel Ejiofor, actor, “12 Years a Slave”
“At no point during filming, in the sweltering heat of New Orleans, did any of us ever foresee the journey this film would take us all on. Steve McQueen created an entire family to tell one man’s tale and I am delighted that so many of this family have also been recognized today. I am hugely grateful to the Academy for this great honor, and, of course, to Solomon Northup for sharing his story through his breathtaking book.”
Steve McQueen, director, “12 Years a Slave”
It’s been quite a ride for “12 Years a Slave” helmer Steve McQueen since the film premiered last fall in Toronto — and he’s not ready to get off just yet.
“I’m still in it, I’m still on the horse and I’m enjoying this amazing ride,” McQueen said. “It’s just a heartwarming feeling to see people embracing this film, showing an interest in cinema and grappling with realities when at first so many thought it would be too brutal for them to do that.”
Sandra Bullock, actress, “Gravity”
Sandra Bullock is well aware that she wasn’t the only actress in contention for the lead role in “Gravity.” She chalks it up to being in the right place and the right time.
“It’s always about timing — that’s the nature of this business,” Bullock says. “No one cares how dirty the script is and how many actors have had their hands on it before it finally gets to you. The technology (to make the film) literally did not exist until three weeks after I signed on. So when the part comes to you with David Heyman and Alfonso Cuaron attached, you count your blessings you were even in line. You don’t really care if you were second person in line or the twentieth.”
Matthew McConaughey, actor, “Dallas Buyers Club”
Sipping a cup of tea while watching the sunrise at his house in Malibu, Matthew McConaughey was “feeling real nice” when he heard the news of his best actor nom for “Dallas Buyers Club.”
“This is the type of movie that you know going in is going to be pretty good medicine and bound to be important, but to have a homophobic hero and a good piece of entertainment, I’ll take all I can get,” he says.
McConaughey planned to cap his big morning by “chasing the sunrise with a five-mile jog.”
Jared Leto, supporting actor, “Dallas Buyers Club”
The making of “Dallas Buyers Club” was an all-consuming passion for everyone involved. But the notion that it could be an Oscar contender was not something anyone was considering during the production.
“We all felt there was the potential to do something special but none of us were consumed by results,” Leto said. “It was the type of role that took over my life. There was no down time, it was 24/7. That was what was so great about doing this part.”
David O. Russell, director, best picture, “American Hustle”
David O. Russell is doing something right, coming off a bevy of back-to-back nominations for “Silver Linings Playbook” last year and “American Hustle” this go-round. And Russell notably works with many of the same cast and crew members on his pics.
“We have definitely created a family. It’s a family that’s become familiar to audiences as well. We have a very dedicated team of editors and a team of producers,” he says. The trust that the whole ensemble has goes a long way to getting fantastic performances on the screen.
“I want to build roles for (actors) that surprise audiences, and then I can ask the actors to go where they haven’t gone before.”
Lupita Nyong’o, supporting actress, “12 Years a Slave”
“I am thrilled beyond words that the Academy has recognized my performance in Steve McQueen’s ’12 Years a Slave’ and I am deeply proud to be in the company of my fellow nominees. This celebration of such an important film is simply extraordinary, and I am so pleased to be able to share it with the rest of the ’12 Years a Slave’ family. I feel truly blessed!”
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Alexander Payne, director, “Nebraska”
Neither the flu nor the excitement of an Oscar nom for directing “Nebraska” was going to stop Alexander Payne from putting in a full day of writing with partner Jim Taylor on a new project.
As the noms came down, Payne says he was “holding his breath” for cinematographer Phedon Papamichael, who received his first nom.
“How can this morning be anything but positive? I’m nothing but grateful and looking to experience more joy.”
Meryl Streep, actress, “August: Osage County”
“I am so happy for our film that Julia and I have been nominated. We are both so proud of ‘August: Osage County.’ This honor from the Academy, for which we are truly grateful, will help bring attention to our film from audiences across the country, which is thrilling.”
Julia Roberts, supporting actress, “August: Osage County”
“This was certainly a once in a lifetime experience and the recognition from it is an absolutely thrilling bonus. I simply could not be more excited right now.”
June Squibb, supporting actress, “Nebraska”
As the best supporting actress noms were read off, June Squibb’s son Harry preemptively embraced his mother.
“I was up at five and dressed, and if I didn’t get it, I’d just have gone back to bed,” Squibb says.
The 84-year-old actress has won kudos for her comedic performance, but she never thought of it that way. “I never think something is funny, I just deal with it from a performance standpoint and if I’m funny, that’s even better,” she says.
Sally Hawkins, supporting actress, “Blue Jasmine”
“To be given this for being in a Woody Allen film – it’s simply an amazing privilege. I am incredibly proud and delighted for us all.”
“This is so special and surreal and I’m truly honored. The nominations by the Academy for the film are a true tribute to David O. Russell, our mentor. I feel very lucky and humbled today.”
Jonah Hill, supporting actor, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Despite all the prognosticators declaring him a shoo-in for a nom, Jonah Hill was completely in shock it happened early Thursday morning.
“I was asleep and wasn’t expecting it,” Hill said. “I was hoping for Leo and Marty and the film but I did not think it was going to happen for me. Like, I am absolutely speechless and I cannot be in more shock right now. Like, really. This is so surreal.”
Working in a collaboration with Richard Linklater and co-star Julie Delpy on the screenplay for “Before Midnight” isn’t easy but it makes the work better.
“We’ve had many years to meditate on these people and these lives,” he says. “Ninety percent (of the original draft) is cut so you end up with the greatest hits. It’s kind of a good rule because it pushes to make everything better. It gets away from too much naval gazing. We don’t want to be too sanctimonious about personal problems. We try to push each other to get at a more interesting truth.”
Steve Coogan, adapted screenplay, “Philomena”
“I failed my English exams a bunch of times,” Coogan says. “To have best screenplay Oscar nomination (with Jeff Pope) is bizarre. I was a lazy guy at school. I didn’t want to do any writing. (But) sometimes you find a story you want to tell.”
Terence Winter, writer, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
It was a emotional morning for “Wolf of Wall Street” writer Terence Winter — not because he earned an adapted screenplay nod but because his wife, Rachel Winter, was also nommed as a producer on “Dallas Buyers Club.”
“I was happier she got nominated,” Winter says. “I was in New York and she was in L.A. but we still watched it together. There was an actual two-second delay, so I found out before her. I actually started crying as soon as I saw her get the nomination.”
Hayao Miyazaki, animated film, “The Wind Rises”
“I and my colleagues are deeply honored that the Academy has chosen to nominate ‘The Wind Rises,’ my last film… It is indeed a privilege for all of us who worked on the film to see it get this acclaim from so far away. I hope that many people will see the film after it opens in North American theaters soon.”
John Ridley, adapted screenplay, “12 Years a Slave”
The journey of his work on the slavery drama has led screenwriter John Ridley to many new discoveries, including one right next door to him. His neighbor left him an emotional letter one day telling him of their history as civil rights workers.
“I hope this film moves people around the world. But honest to god, but that letter my neighbor left was as much a reward as I will ever get this film,” Ridley says. “I sat down with him and asked him about his stories. He started tearing up. He said he’d wished he’d done more in his lifetime. It’s not the big histories we discover. It’s the little things about the people next to us.”
Joshua Oppenheimer, documentary feature, “The Act of Killing”
The value of the feature docu Oscar nomination cannot be overstated for the team behind “The Act of Killing,” which put the spotlight on former death squad leaders in Indonesia.
“We’re all so deeply grateful,” says director Joshua Oppenheimer. “This is a really big honor for us but it’s also a big day for the survivors with whom and for whom we made this film. For them it’s a crucial step in their country’s acknowledgement of this catastrophe. This is so important for Indonesia. It’s going to be on the cover of the Indonesian papers tomorrow.”
Alexandre Desplat, original score, “Philomena”
Although he lives in Los Angeles, Desplat learned about his sixth Oscar nomination when his oldest daughter texted him from Paris.
“I’m so happy for the movie because this movie is such a gem, such a beautiful, gorgeous little film. It’s not a $200 million movie. It’s a beautiful piece of art. Stephen Frears is such a master at mixing emotion and wit and humor. It’s so difficult to do that when it comes to the music — trying to get the emotion running without being heavy-handed and keep subtlety over time.”
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Pharrell Williams, Original song — “Happy,” “Despicable Me 2”
Of the four Pharrell Williams songs that are featured in “Despicable Me 2,” the tune that earned him an Oscar nom, “Happy,” was the hardest one to write.
“I tried nine times to get that scene right,” Williams says. “I just asked myself ‘How to do I make a song about being happy?’ It was also about having a relentless determination about being happy and hearing something in your head that you haven’t heard before. It’s been incredibly rewarding just to have not given up.”
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Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, “Frozen,” Original Song – “Let it Go”
“I screamed so loudly this morning when they announced it that I’m pretty sure our neighbors thought I was being attacked. I had the screen open ‘cause it’s so warm in New York today and I realized I’d better close it before I scare everybody,” Anderson-Lopez says.
Adds Lopez: “Never in a zillion years did we think that our movie would have such an impact around the world and that people would embrace the song in the way that they have.”
Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage
Melisa Wallack and Craig Borten, writers, “Dallas Buyers Club”
“Melisa and I felt like this unlikely friendship (in the pic) could relate today it if we did it in a very humanistic way. People could understand the idea that this man had 30 days left to live and could go on a journey with him,” says Borten.
With “Dallas Buyers Club” triumphing after a long journey to the screen, the pair’s next project is “getting out of bed,” Wallack says.
Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee, directors, “Frozen,” animated film
The screenwriters behind Disney’s B.O. hit “Frozen” have been most surprised at how much the music from the toon has taken off.
“You hear people singing the songs (in public places),” Buck says. “It’s captured the public.”
Lee credits Internet video for helping to spread the word on the pic. “When ‘Lion King’ and ‘Beauty and the Beast’ came out there was no YouTube,” Lee says.
Bob Nelson, original screenplay, “Nebraska”
“Nebraska” screenwriter Bob Nelson knew the pic was going to be something special as soon as he saw Bruce Dern in action.
“The scene where Bruce Dern is being humiliated by Stacy Keach in bar and Bruce doesn’t say a word, I knew Bruce came to play. I thought ‘We may have something here,’ “ Nelson says.
Dana Brunetti, best picture, “Captain Phillips”
The ship hijacking story told in “Captain Phillips” is “a great patriotic American story but it’s also a global story.” Now that the Oscar noms are in, Brunetti is ready to seize the moment to advance his next projects. “I have a lot of phone calls to make. It’s all about getting rocks up hills.”
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Jonathan Gordon, best picture, “American Hustle”
“American Hustle” was a straight-up gamble and hardly a shoo-in for kudos attention, producer John Gordon says.
“Back in May, when me and David (O. Russell) were in the editing room, we both felt we were starting to see something special but we would sit there saying ‘Are we the only people that will think this is something special?’ ” Gordon says. “It wasn’t until that first test screening when people really started getting into it where we thought ‘OK, it’s not just us that are seeing something here. ‘ ”
Tim Webber, visual effects, “Gravity”
The vfx team behind “Gravity” didn’t set out to invent cutting-edge techniques for filming — but that’s what the project demanded.
“It was quite an extended process to work out how to do these effects,” says Tim Webber, who nonmed for the pic with Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould. “We weren’t setting out at the beginning to be inventive, it just happened to come together that way.”
Dave M. Benett/WireImage
Jeff Pope, adapted screenplay, “Philomena”
The best part about Judi Dench’s early commitment to the lead in “Philomena” was the ability to write the character for her.
“When he committed to the role, we could then visualize the part for her as we were crafting the script,” says Jeff Pope, who wrote the script with Steve Coogan. “It meant we got under the skin of the character.”
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Joe Walker, editing, “12 Years a Slave”
“12 Years a Slave” editor Joe Walker had a British-ism at the ready to describe his reaction to the news of his Oscar nom.
“I’m thrilled skinny,” he joked. Walker and director Steve McQueen come from the same town, Ealing, which he called “a leafy little suburb.” “We were saying earlier on the phone that we’ve come a long way.”
Richard Suckle, best picture, “American Hustle”
“American Hustle” producer Richard Suckle celebrated the best pic nom over breakfast with his wife and children and a special beverage.
“Usually they like to ask for chocolate milk, but that’s more of a weekend thing. Today, however, I think I’ll be breaking out the Nesquik.”
Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Thomas Vinterberg, foreign language, “The Hunt”
Thomas Vinterberg the director and co-writer of Denmark’s “The Hunt,” was sitting in his editing room in Copenhagen piecing together the last parts of “Far from the Madding Crowd,” his coming Fox Searchlight film when he received the news.
“This was a fucking fantastic, exciting pretty damn good morning,” he said. “In this business you take nothing for granted.”
To celebrate, Vinterberg plans on “drowning myself and my wife in champagne and having a great dinner with some of the actors.”
Eric Singer, original screenplay, “American Hustle”
As David O. Russell’s writing partner for “American Hustle,” Eric Singer was the first to admit that “it takes a village” to bring a script to life.
That being said, Singer emphasizes his grounded life and blessed career. “My house is very much in the real world, I never get to drift up to the sky too high,” he said.
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David Heyman, best picture, “Gravity”
Coming off the storied run of the “Harry Potter” films, receiving an Oscar nom for “Gravity” is “the icing on a very rich and tasty cake” for producer David Heyman.
“Alfonso (Cuaron) made a film that was a true cinematic experience and a wonderful odyssey that gave people a reason to go to the cinema.”
Lauren MacMullan, animated short film, “Get a Horse!”
Director Lauren MacMullan continued a proud Disney tradition of animated shorts with the innovative “Get a Horse!,” a throwback to Mickey Mouse’s heyday of the 1930s that used the voice of Walt Disney himself.
“It’s been a really amazing thing to get to work with not only the talented 2D animators and CG animators at the studio but to get to work with the voice of Walt Disney,” MacMullan says.
Alberto E. Rodriguez/WireImage
Emma Tillinger Koskoff, “The Wolf of Wall Street”
Even after a dozen years of working with Martin Scorsese, producer Emma Tillinger Koskoff says “The Wolf of Wall Street” was a singular experience. One moment during the shooting with Leonardo DiCaprio stands out in her mind.
“The day that we were shooting Leo’s speach to rally the troops on the Steve Madden IPO — watching that performance was amazing,” she says. “I still get chills watching it. I knew we were at a whole new level there.”
Judy Becker, Production Designer, “American Hustle”
“American Hustle”s production designer Judy Becker called her husband then phoned her father as soon as she read about her very first Oscar nomination. She said the film allowed her to explore an era she had been dreaming of recreating onscreen.
“The ’70s is an era that I love and that I’d been dying to portray in a movie and to get to create the world of these characters that David (O. Russell) wrote, such diverse worlds, but yet to tie them together, really create worlds that inform the story and the characters. I grew up in the New York area and so many of my childhood and later memories of New York are in that era and the era right afterward in the ’80s. To be able to draw on that, my personal experience as a child, … it was one of the best creative experiences of my life.”