Oscars: The Nominees React

9:50 AM 1/13/2020

by Jordan Wilson, Borys Kit, Mia Galuppo, Katie Campione, Tara Bitran, and Rebecca Ford

Charlize Theron, Taika Waititi, Florence Pugh, Rian Johnson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Antonio Banderas, Bong Joon Ho, James Mangold and others share their thoughts on the early Monday morning announcement.

1917- Joker - Publicity Stills - Split - H 2019
Universal Pictures; Warner Bros. Pictures

The nominees for the 92nd annual Academy Awards, with Joker leading the pack at 11 nominations. 

The 92nd Academy Awards will be held Sunday, Feb. 9, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Los Angeles. The awards ceremony will once again go hostless and will air on ABC as part of the network's long-term agreement with the Academy. 

Read the reactions of the nominees below. 

  • Charlize Theron

    Charlize Theron was up before the sun, but not for Oscar nomination announcements. The best actress nominee found out about her Bombshell nomination while getting her kids ready for school. "It was one of those great moments where the reality of my mom life and the reality of my job just kind of beautifully collide. It was really lovely," she said. This is her third acting nomination, but Theron said she never gets tired of the Academy's nods. "It's just special. It really is. When you get to make a film, that's such a great feeling. I don't think I will ever be able to be jaded about it. Just the concept that you're one of five is ridiculously generous." While she’s obviously rooting for co-star Margot Robbie, Theron said she wants to show support for all the nominees. "I’m a mom now. I root for everybody!"

  • Taika Waititi

    "It's been one of the [only] Monday mornings where I felt like I wanted to wake up," Waititi said about finding out his film scored six nominations, including best picture. "I found out through people texting me. My phone has been blowing up. I've had eight texts. It's been incredible. Eight whole texts! All of them are from my mom," he said. "I'm from New Zealand, so we try not to take anything seriously, but this is quite a big deal. I’m really excited. I love the fact that our project is the underdog film. It’s really in keeping with how we in New Zealand try to approach our work. We kind of go under the radar.”

  • Antonio Banderas

    Banderas was in a restaurant in Málaga, Spain, having lunch with some friends when suddenly everybody started screaming around him, the actor recalls of learning he was nominated for his first Oscar. “It feels actually very sweet because, among other things, I wasn’t expecting it. The Oscar is very, very difficult to obtain. I’m performing in Spanish. I didn’t have time to promote much because I opened my theater here in Málaga three months ago,” he says. Pain and Glory, which is also nominated for best international feature film, is the eighth film Banderas has made with Pedro Almodóvar, so the recognition feels all the more special. “It means a lot. The circumstances in which this movie has been made and the meaning of working with a friend of mine for 40 years, I would have to talk to you for three hours just to explain how I feel.” Even from his first time reading the script, Banderas thought, “Oh my god, this is something different. It’s a completely different thing to be directed by your character.” (Laughs.) Banderas considers the pic’s ending an homage to the thing that Almodóvar loves the most — film. “There are many ways you can get out of the pain and isolation the character feels and he felt for a while in his life,” Banderas says. “And he chooses to get out of that through art and through cinema. One of the things I love about this movie is the solution of it, that the pain can be saved through art. It’s a good way to overcome.”

  • Leonardo DiCaprio

    "I'd like to thank the Academy for recognizing my work along with the incredible performances of my fellow nominees," the previous Oscar winner, for The Revenant, said. "I've been incredibly fortunate, with this film, to have partnered with brilliant collaborators in Quentin Tarantino, Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie. This film is an homage to the city of Los Angeles, and I had the opportunity to portray an actor facing his own obsolescence, at a time when our culture was going through massive change. This film in many ways is a tribute to all those who were a part of this industry. Cinema is, and continues to be a powerful form of free artistic expression. This film along with so many others this year, were truly original and impactful. I hope as we progress, we continue to see even more of them. I feel honored to be a part of it all. Thank you again."

  • Florence Pugh

    Pugh spent the night before her nomination attending the Critics' Choice Awards then heading back to her place to watch Bombshell. She received a bombshell of her own when she got a call in the 5 o’clock hour saying she’d received a best supporting Oscar nomination for her work in Little Women. "I screamed," she said of her initial reaction. "Then, through puffy sleep eyes I called my parents. They screamed, too." Her reaction to the news is still in flux. "I haven't processed it yet. I’m overwhelmed."

    Pugh was elated about co-star Saoirse Ronan’s acting nomination — she hadn’t yet reached out to her — but was down on her movie's director, Greta Gerwig, not snagging a best director nomination. In fact, no women were nominated in the category.

    "I haven't spoken to her and I don't know what she's feeling — it is upsetting," she said. "People will continue asking questions. I don't really know how to solve it, sadly."

  • Bong Joon Ho

    The Parasite director and co-writer, who attended the Critics' Choice Awards the night before, watched the nominations from his hotel in L.A., on his iPad while his son slept through the whole thing in the room next door. Describing his experience of hearing that his film had landed six nominations, including best picture, Bong tells THR that it was “very shocking. It’s such a great joy. All people in our team worked really hard and to see these results is very gratifying.” The filmmaker admits he was disappointed that actor Song Kang-ho didn’t earn an individual acting nomination. “All the good results that Parasite has gained today is because of Song Kang-ho, who has been with the film throughout the entire process.”

    As for the recently announced limited series that Bong will be doing with HBO and Adam McKay, the writer-director says he “already had a lot of ideas from the scriptwriting phase. With cinema you’re limited with a two-hour run time. I really wanted to explore more ideas with a five- or six-hour film … so with the TV series, we’ll be able to create a very high-quality, expanded film.”

  • Rian Johnson

    "I don't know that it is, quote, 'graspable,'" says Johnson, who was sleeping through the nomination announcement so as not to "jinx it." The writer-director, who is already working on a follow-up centered on Daniel Craig's Southern detective Benoit Blanc, was woken up by his longtime producer Ram Bergman, who told him about his nom: "It was a movie that we made gearing towards theater. It is a genre movie and was not something that we ever saw in this conversation. Seeing audiences respond to it has been so gratifying."

  • Anthony McCarten

    McCarten said he was excited to see his work recognized by the Academy and gave a shout-out to Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce for their acting nominations. "I believe that their work in this film will endure," McCarten told THR. He has written the screenplays for three of the last five best actor winners, which made seeing Hopkins' nomination even more gratifying. "A four-peat! Amazing," McCarten said of another possible win. "I don't really understand why that is happening, but I do love to write for actors and give them the tools and the opportunity and the role that they need to show what they can do. I'm thrilled that I aided and abetted these extraordinary actors."

  • Pippa Harris

    If you can believe it, Harris was in the middle of getting her hair done in London, wearing a smock and her head back in the sink, when 1917 director Sam Mendes FaceTimed her with word that their film had received numerous Oscar nominations. "It was slightly embarrassing," she says of her predicament, adding she was thrilled to hear the news.

    Harris admitted she was still flying high from the Golden Globe win and last week's BAFTA nominations but didn't want to take an Oscar nom for granted: "You always hope that the work you do is recognized but you can never tell. We would have been foolish to assume anything."

    To Harris, the breadth of the noms for the movie was the most thrilling aspect: "They honored different parts of the film, our hair and makeup department, and the prosthetic work they did in creating that landscape of dead bodies and dead horses, crafting each hair in each corpse."

  • Carthew Neal

    Neal woke up this morning to a bunch of "beeps." They were texts congratulating the producer on his best picture nomination for Jojo Rabbit: "I was just by myself, lying in bed, in the dark being like, 'Wow, this is the moment I found out about my nomination.'" Shortly after, he was celebrating with Taika Waititi at the filmmaker's Los Angeles home. "We are jumping up and down going, 'Six! Six! Six!'" One member of the production he hadn't been able to contact with congratulations yet is the movie's young star, Roman Griffin Davis. "He is in school right now," the producer explained. While Neal is grateful about his own nom, he is most proud of Waititi's for best adapted screenplay mention, saying, "Everyone signed on because of that script. It had so much power and humor in it."

  • Amy Pascal

    When producer Pascal heard that Little Women was the third best picture Oscar nominee that was written, directed and produced by women, she thought, "Are you kidding? That's crazy," she told THR on Monday morning. "It didn't feel any different than the other movies that I've produced, but it was a joy in every way. Women don't make movies differently than men. Contrary to popular belief." Pascal is thrilled with the film’s six nominations. "I'm so proud of Greta [Gerwig]. I'm so proud of Saoirse [Ronan] and Florence [Pugh] and Jacqueline [Durran] and Alexandre [Desplat]. We've all been texting each other like crazy. I got all the 'woohoo's' this morning." Pascal, whose favorite line in the film is Amy's dead-on "I want to be great or nothing," deems that she has never had a more inspiring experience professionally than working with Gerwig. "Her brain is on fire constantly. Talking to her is like being on Wikipedia. She is firing on all cylinders at all times. She's incredibly well read. She knows everything about literature, theater, mathematics, geometry — I've never met anybody like that. She gets ideas and they spring out of her head and flower in a way that is truly exhilarating." Pascal says she is most looking forward to sitting with Gerwig at the ceremony.

  • James Mangold

    "It's a year that is really packed with a lot of unique and moving films. Personally, I'm thrilled to be among them and happy for a lot of my friends," Mangold said, listing Knives Out writer-director Rian Johnson and Parasite writer-director Bong Joon Ho among those he was excited for. In addition to best picture, Ford v Ferrari scored nominations in three other technical categories. Mangold said he was grateful to see his team recognized for their work. "The whole team on this film has worked together for many films — some of them as many as six or seven films together. So, everyone is rooting for everyone and there's such cohesion and friendship between them all. It's feeling like a family win."

  • Shannon McIntosh and David Heyman

    Both McIntosh and Heyman watched the Oscars broadcast Monday morning, where the former picked up her first-ever nomination and the latter became a double nominee for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Marriage Story. “Just pinch me,” Heyman told THR. McIntosh, a longtime member of Tarantino’s “Gang” of collaborators, calls him “a singular voice” who evolves things on set, like writing more for an actor if he’s excited by what they’re doing. “Quentin was so inspired by Kurt Russell as Stuntman Randy that he came in one morning and had handwritten some pages and away we went.” Heyman views Tarantino, who does consider Once Upon a Time his “memory film” of his childhood driving around Los Angeles looking up at the Hollywood signs of yore, as a great leader. “Quentin loves making movies and his passion for it is infectious. This film is a celebration of actors and all those who enter the industry. It celebrates what we do.” As both Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt received nominations, McIntosh says “it’s so nice to see them on the screen together after all these years of them being amazing iconic actors in their own right.” Heyman, in particular, loves the duo’s scene “at the end of the movie, when Rick says, ‘You’re a good friend, Cliff,’ and Cliff says, ‘I try.’ The appreciation of the friendship they have is just profoundly moving.”

  • Jane Rosenthal

    Rosenthal and Robert De Niro are longtime producing partners, but “we’ve never had a best picture [nomination]. It brings out the little girl from Rhode Island that’s like, ‘I’m going to the Academy Awards!’ I feel a bit like Cinderella.” Rosenthal wasn’t up when the nominees were announced, but she got a call from her best friend Patty, who she’s talked to every morning since she was 18 years old. And at the time Rosenthal spoke with THR, she had already heard from De Niro 10 times. “But that too is a normal morning also.” Rosenthal appreciates De Niro’s attention to detail on their projects, which helps her to look at things with a new perspective. “That’s what’s always refreshing for me, and his insatiable curiosity about everything, including a role, a story, the film.” The flame for this particular film was kept burning by De Niro for 12 years. “I should say, he also derailed another project we were doing because he felt that this was a better story to tell. And he was right, that this would be the final chapter in these kinds of gangster movies for these guys.” Rosenthal and De Niro do have their fair share of projects outside of awards season on the horizon, from the Tribeca Film Festival starting in April to watching a director’s cut of Amblin’s The Good House on Tuesday morning. “It doesn’t end. It just doesn’t end. It’s what it is.” But Rosenthal is mostly just in a state of relief and disbelief that the movie got made. “To make the movie with Marty [Scorsese] and Bob [De Niro] and Joe [Pesci] and Al [Pacino] has been a lifetime dream.”