The award season is under way in Hollywood, and nominees for the Academy Awards, or Oscars, shared their excitement Monday at a luncheon in Los Angeles. Many of this year’s nominees are being honored for films that tell real-life stories.
Steve Carell, well-known for his comic roles on television and in movies, is an Oscar nominee for Best Actor for his role as John du Pont in the drama "Foxcatcher." The film is based on a real-life story of money, madness and murder. Carell says the role was unexpected.
“I didn’t read the breakdown [and say] here’s a guy who killed another guy and he’s a very, very dark character. That has my name written all over it," he said. "I didn’t think I would be in the mix in terms of a character like that.”
But he was, and the critics loved it. This is Carell’s first Oscar nomination.
It’s also a first for Felicity Jones, who is up for Best Actress for her role in the true-life story "The Theory of Everything." It is based on the relationship between Stephen and Jane Hawking, and she plays the former wife of the brilliant physicist.
Jones says this annual luncheon offers a chance to relax after months of promoting the movie.
“You go to all these events and you’re so nervous that you reach a point that you can’t get any more nervous," she said. "So it’s nice to finally be at the luncheon and now actually enjoying it and celebrating the film, and taking stock of it, actually.”
Her costar, Eddie Redmayne, is another first-time nominee, and he’ll compete for Best Actor for his role as scientist Hawking. Like Jones, the 33-year-old actor has a long list of credits from movies and television, but this is his first time competing for an Oscar.
“The whole thing, to be honest, has been such an extraordinary flood of emotions and euphoria that I’ve tried not to find too much method in the madness and just taking it as it comes,” he said.
Reese Witherspoon won an Oscar as Best Actress for the 2005 film "Walk the Line," about singer Johnny Cash, and she’s up for the award once again for the drama "Wild." "Wild" is based on a true story about a woman’s journey of self-discovery through the wilderness. Witherspoon says the film was the most challenging of her career.
“All those days hiking up mountains and crossing freezing rivers, carrying equipment. It feels very hard-won, but so rewarding,” she said.
Hollywood veteran Michael Keaton is up for Best Actor for his role in "Birdman," a fictional tale of a former action star who tries to redeem himself and revive his career. The 63-year-old actor is another first-time nominee, and he was asked what he will say if he should win.
“The word 'grateful.' I’m just going to keep saying it and saying it and saying it and saying it," he said. "Look, you’re talking about a dude who gets up in the morning and goes, two arms, two legs, lungs, eyes… I’m pretty much good to go.”
Oscars will be awarded in 24 categories, from acting and directing to costume design. First-time nominees and movie veterans will all be there, as the world turns its attention to Hollywood on Sunday, February 22.