Oscars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep and Other Actor Nominees Spill Secrets Behind Their Roles
8:19 AM PST 1/27/2014 by THR Staff
Who found his or her's character's "insane hedonism" exhausting? Who "lost it" over having to say the word "I'm dying"? This year's 10 nominated actors and actresses reveal the challenges and demands of their roles.
"I think a role hits you at the right time," says Blanchett. "I just had a deep connection immediately with the part. I felt like it began to really get inside me the minute I read the script. Jasmine is constantly performing as someone rather than inhabiting herself. The fascinating thing for me about Jasmine is she's an utterly constructed human being. She's changed her name. She's chosen the right social set to work to move into. So she's someone who has a dislocated sense of self from the get-go. I was interested in finding out what the silhouette was, what the cliche was she was aspiring to but could never quite achieve. She got everything, but she is still ripe for a nervous breakdown."
Matthew McConaughey in 'Dallas Buyers Club'
Says McConaughey, "There's a scene where my character goes to Dr. Eve Saks [JenniferGarner]. I get in to her office and ask for the AZT. It hit me in the first take that I've never said the words 'I'm dying.' And it just rocked my soul and slammed me to the ground. And on the second take, I just lost it. I was hit with the rage and the fear. I didn't know how hard and difficult it would be to say those words in the first person."
Meryl Streep in 'August: Osage County'
Streep on her character: "I had a lot of feelings about Violet. I thought she was kind of great in a certain way. Whenever she was funny, she knew she was funny. Some thwarted, witty people, with no place to put it, with no love in their lives, get sharper and sharper and sharper. I have great sympathy for her -- her bent, wrecked self. I think that's why she aimed so hard and so fierce at Barbara [JuliaRoberts], because a woman like that lives through her child, and that child -- that promising child, the one who has it -- just gives up and marries the first cute dope."
Amy Adams in 'American Hustle'
Adams on her day at work: "The pace of the work was so challenging, I couldn't spend time overthinking anything. I had to trust and move on, and I'm a very analytical person. Was I used to the wardrobe? A lot has been made of that. I think once I understood the intention behind it, I embraced it. It was part of my character's tools of manipulation. I needed to find a way to distract these men and make them jealous. But I totally get why people are talking about it in watching the film. It's definitely very distracting!"
Christian Bale in 'American Hustle'
"One thing that I found to be a really nice insight into this guy is the fact that he's such a consummate con man, but he does this comb-over that cons nobody, you know, about him having a full head of hair. I just love that contradiction," says Bale.
Sandra Bullock in 'Gravity'
Bullock on the making of Gravity, "When we made Gravity, no one knew if it would work and, up to the first couple of screenings, I don't think there were hopes of this film turning into anything. You didn't get the sense that, 'Oh, we have this piece that's Academy-worthy!' Everyone was panicked to just create and figure out this technology, and 'Are we getting the story right?' "
Bruce Dern in 'Nebraska'
Dern on director Payne: "On the first day of shooting, AlexanderPayne came up to me and said, 'I'm Alexander, and I'm your director. This is Mr. [Phedon] Papamichael; he's your cinematographer. I wonder if you would do something for us that I'm not sure you've ever done in your career?' I said, 'Well, what might that be?' And he said, 'Let us do our jobs! When they turn the switch on you, you're as entertaining as anybody we have. Don't show us anything. Make us find it.' And that's what you see in this movie. I trusted him, I put my arms around him, and I love him. And he's as tough as Mr. Hitchcock, who told me, 'I have 1,244 perfect frames.' I said, 'Well, why me?' He said, 'You're entertaining. The frames aren't entertaining.' "
Chiwetel Ejiofor in '12 Years a Slave'
"What we were attempting to do, we wanted to kind of slip down the rabbit hole, which is the only way I can describe it," says the 12 Years a Slave actor. "The only way to do that, in a way, was for all of us to be as deep within it as we could be. It's been interesting to open up this debate and conversation for people who, for whatever reason, have become disconnected from their history. My hope was that I would be able to drop the whole thing [once filming was completed], but that just wasn't possible. I spent about two months on my own just to try to come out of the experience somehow."
Judi Dench in 'Philomena'
"I met PhilomenaLee before we started shooting," said Dench. "We had the most wonderful lunch. She's got a great, great sense of humor. She made me laugh. The Irish sense of humor -- because my ma was Irish, and my father was brought up there -- I understood that very well. I could recognize that sense of humor. When she walked on the set, I was actually in my wig and dressed like her -- that must have been a bit of a facer for her. I think to come face-to-face with the person who is meant to be representing you must be a rather shattering feeling. I wouldn't like that."
Leonardo DiCaprio in 'The Wolf of Wall Street'
"What was challenging was the overall adrenaline that we had to keep up while making this movie," said DiCaprio. "It was incredibly draining; I haven't worked since. The insane hedonism that we put onscreen was exhausting. In the case of the speeches, I had so much stuck in my mind as to how I wanted to communicate to my co-workers on Wall Street. By the time I got there, I developed strep throat, and I couldn't speak. So I had to reevaluate it all again, made more plans how it was going to be and then, boom -- everything got thrown out the window and it became something entirely different."
Who better to judge the best movies of all time than the people who make them? Studio chiefs, Oscar winners and TV royalty all were surveyed as THR publishes its first definitive entertainment-industry ranking of cinema's most superlative. View gallery