Oscars: The Nominees React

9:37 AM 1/22/2019

by THR staff

The nominees share their thoughts on the Tuesday morning announcement.

The nominees were announced Tuesday morning for the 91st annual Academy Awards, with The Favourite and Roma leading the race with 10 mentions each.

A host has not yet been set for this year's Oscars, which will take place at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. ABC will broadcast the ceremony live on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. 

Read what the nominees had to say, below.

  • Bradley Cooper

    "Everyone who worked on this film truly risked putting themselves out there — in the hope that in doing so people will connect and feel something deep and personal — the way films have made me feel since I was a kid. When I got this opportunity I knew I had to risk it all because I may never get another chance, so to be here today in a place where people who have seen the film are talking about how it makes them feel something deep — that simple human thing, that we need each other — and for the Academy to recognize that this morning, I just am so grateful."

  • Willem Dafoe

    "The movie is a really unique film — as a personal expression about Vincent van Gogh, making a film about an artist, it was a wonderful role," says Dafoe of playing the famed artist in the CBS Films drama. "It's underseen right now, so I think this [nomination] will certainly help for it to be seen more widely." Dafoe says he and director Julian Schnabel have become "joined at the hip" since making the film. "It's the kind of situation where it was such a great experience for me, and such a fluid experience. It's like we were the same person. When you have that kind of union when you're working, it's very exciting."

  • Richard E. Grant

    "I was sitting at a restaurant in London with my daughter and she had the live feed on her phone, and she gave me an earpiece to listen to it. We both simultaneously burst into tears when we found out and I just couldn't believe it — I still can't believe it. I literally feel like I am out-of-body levitating. My feet haven't touched the ground since, and I am absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of the American Academy that I've been honored with a nomination. It's beyond anything that I could have possibly expected."

  • Mahershala Ali

    "I'd like to thank the Academy for recognizing my work along with the extraordinary performances of my fellow nominees. I was so fortunate to have collaborators in Viggo Mortensen and Peter Farrelly and I'd like to congratulate them on their nominations. Through Dr. Donald Shirley, I had the gift of navigating circumstances as a profound, gifted, complicated genius. A man who had experiences and a combination of qualities that I had yet to see on film. I'm tremendously grateful for the lessons I learned through both his struggles and successes. I sincerely hope Dr. Shirley's music and his unique contribution to our culture continues to be discovered, shared and appreciated."

  • Sam Elliott

    First-time nominee Sam Elliott found out about his nomination for A Star Is Born from none other than his wife at 6:30 this morning when he was half-asleep. "Off the top of my head, tongue-in-cheek, I would say it's about fucking time," he said, adding, “but the truth of it all is I was just lucky to have been a part of it and I'm grateful for the opportunity. After 50 years, it's a wonderful thing to be recognized for the work and to see all of the nominations that came to the film."

  • Amy Adams

    "Thank you so much to the Academy for this recognition. It is an honor to be nominated for a film that I loved making. I am grateful to Adam [McKay] for writing such rich material and for creating such a wonderful work environment. I also want to congratulate the other nominees, my castmembers, the crew and everyone who worked so hard on this film!"

  • Emma Stone

    "Working on The Favourite alongside my brilliant friends Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and the whole cast was nothing short of incredible. I was grateful every day and am honored by this nomination. Yorgos [Lanthimos] created a palace for us all to play in. I am forever indebted to him and the whole team that brought this insane vision to life. Thank you to Fox Searchlight for their invaluable support, and thank you to the Academy for recognizing our work."

  • Regina King

    "Wow, wow, wow. The word I keep coming back to is 'proud.' Proud of our cast and crew with all the work we put into this amazing, yet still timely story. I'm grateful to Barry Jenkins for creating this beautiful role out of the great James Baldwin's words. Collaborating with Barry has been a highlight of my career, and this recognition is icing on the cake! And thank you to the Academy!"

  • Rachel Weisz

    "Thank you to the Academy for recognizing The Favourite in so many categories. I'm immensely proud to be part of it and to be nominated in the company of such talented women. Congratulations to my incredible fellow actors Emma [Stone] and Olivia [Colman], our brilliant director Yorgos [Lanthimos] and to everyone who participated in the making of this extraordinary film. Thank you to Fox Searchlight for their unwavering support and for having the guts to make a film with three complex female protagonists."

  • Alfonso Cuaron

    The Roma helmer was just landing in London when the nominations were announced. He was on the phone with his son, talking about his homework. "I was about to hang up, and at the end he says, 'And congratulations,'" says Cuaron. The filmmaker adds that seeing both Yalitza Aparicio and Marina De Tavira earn acting nominations was "the thing that made me the happiest." He says: "It's very well-deserved because they are the heart of the film. Yalitza's humanity is what can convey whatever emotional meaning the film has to the audiences."

  • Spike Lee

    "It's not something I've done in a long time. It was new," says Spike Lee with a laugh of getting up to watch the nominations. He was joined by his wife and kids (and dog Ginger) to watch the nominations. "We were all in the bed together and we were jumping up and down. It was a good day and my phone is blowing up." Lee's film earned six noms, including his first for directing and best picture. He spoke with much of his crew Tuesday morning and also Adam Driver, who was nominated for best supporting actor. "He's shooting Star Wars in London, where they stopped production and the first AD assembled the cast and crew to congratulate Adam," says Lee. "Today is filled with love, but at the same time, I was watching the news before it came on and I can't think about the 800,000 Americans who are now living in a desperate time, and I think this film deals directly with that and all the other crazy shit that's happened in this country since 'Agent Orange' [President Donald Trump] got to the White House."

  • Adam McKay

    McKay hosted a nominations viewing party at his house with the Vice producers and plenty of bagels. "You are tempting the fate when you do this, but we figured, 'What the hay!'" The political drama that centers on the career of Dick Cheney pulled in an impressive amount of nominations after receiving a mixed critical response. "It is a movie put out during a time when sadly the country is very divided, so it's been a bit of a bucking bronco," says the director. "I have gotten some of the most gushing emails I've ever gotten on any movie, and then I have seen some of the most negative responses I have ever seen."

  • Ed Guiney

    Guiney, producer of The Favourite, says he was sort of expecting a few nominations — in particular for the film's leading ladies, who have dominated the precursor awards thus far — but was absolutely thrilled to receive a field-leading 10 mentions (the film is tied with Roma). "It exceeded our expectations, and it's wonderful to be featured so prominently, and I'm really delighted that [director] Yorgos [Lanthimos] got nominated because it would have felt unjust had that not happened I think. Pleased for everybody — it was a good morning," he says.

    As for what other films he was blown away by this year, Guiney says, "I saw Roma in Toronto and I was really taken with it — I thought it was very moving and a terrific film. Performance-wise, I saw so many good performances this year, but Christian Bale was kind of amazing in Vice."

  • Yorgos Lanthimos

    "I would like to thank the Academy for honoring The Favourite so generously today. Having felt a bit like an outsider looking in, I am truly humbled about this morning's nominations. They are a meaningful tribute to every person involved in the making of The Favourite — my talented collaborators and sublime cast, led by Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone."

  • Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin

    The husband-and-wife filmmaking team watched the announcement with their children in New York. "They were very excited because I don't know if they see us get that excited very often," says Chin of watching with his kids. "This film took such a commitment from Alex and our incredible crew. The stakes were so high in the moment, and you never really know what will happen next," says Vasarhelyi. "It's been incredible to see this outpouring from audiences who say that Alex's story inspires courage in them." The duo had not yet connected with their film's subject, climber Alex Honnold, as he's based in Las Vegas. "And he's Alex, so he's sleeping through it, but I'm sure he'll be thrilled," says Chin with a laugh.

  • Chris Miller, Phil Lord, Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman

    "This and coffee really helped us wake up this morning!" Miller quipped, adding on a more serious note, "The message of being so inclusive and that anyone can see themselves on the screen is something that I think a lot of people have connected to. … The fact that anyone can find something they can personally connect to is the embodiment of what we were hoping to say with the inclusive message that started with Stan Lee." "And to do that in a way that feels like we were pushing the medium in new directions is really gratifying. We took a lot of creative risks," added Lord, saying that the filmmakers were on a group text to talk this morning — and it involved a lot of emojis. "Animators only speak in graphic images."

    The film's directors — Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman — also shared stories of their nomination morning. "We’ve had a group text for the run of the production," said Ramsey, adding that the morning was filled with texts like “OMG." Added Rothman, "My dad is figuring out how to group FaceTime my family.” Meanwhile, some lucky second graders will be spending the day at Los Angeles' Natural History Museum with Persichetti. "I'm a chaperone for my son's trip," he reported.

  • Brad Bird

    "We are incredibly grateful. We had a large, wonderful team," says Bird of the team at Pixar. "We were worried too much time had elapsed [since The Incredibles, which won this category in 2005], but the response was overwhelming and humbling." Of the nomination for Pixar's animated short, Bao, which played in theaters in front of Incredibles 2, he added, "We were so thrilled to see [Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb] nominated. [Director] Domee was also a story artist on Incredibles 2. Bao fit perfectly with [Incredibles 2] because it was about family as well."

  • Lynette Howell Taylor

    Lynette Howell Taylor, who received her first-ever Oscar nom for her work producing A Star Is Born, was lovingly awakened by her children climbing into her bed at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning. "So, I was like, 'Well, I guess I'm awake,'" she laughs. "We watched it together on my computer and I said, 'Anytime they say A Star Is Born, that's a good thing to hear.'" Howell Taylor first worked with director Bradley Cooper on The Place Beyond the Pines six years ago, and he called her to recruit her to come on board. "I had not seen any of the previous versions, so I immediately went home and watched the Judy Garland version and the Barbra Streisand version back-to-back." Of all the catchy tunes on the A Star Is Born soundtrack, two Howell Taylor adores are "Shallow," which was the first song she ever heard for the film in its raw file state, and "Is That Alright?," the ballad that plays over the credits at the end. A self-proclaimed huge Lady Gaga fan, Howell Taylor noted that "it's been so awesome to collaborate with her and to be a part of watching her create music."

  • Sean McKittrick, Jason Blum, Raymond Mansfield, Jordan Peele

    "We are honored by the Academy's recognition for BlacKkKlansman and the work Spike [Lee], Adam Driver, Terence Blanchard, Barry Alexander Brown and our entire cast and crew gave in bringing Ron Stallworth's life to screen. More than 40 years later, this story of courage in the face of hatred is sadly still relevant today. Because of this, we knew from the very beginning that there was only one person who could helm this film: Spike Lee. It's hard to believe this is the first time Spike's brilliant work has been nominated for directing and best picture, but at this moment in our history, it seems fitting the spotlight is on Spike Lee."

  • Jim Burke, Charles Wessler, Brian Hayes Currie, Peter Farrelly and Nick Vallelonga

    "We are beyond grateful to the Academy for this overwhelming honor. The Green Book story began with a concert tour in the pre-civil-rights-era 1960s that allowed an unexpected friendship to grow between these two very different individuals. Their extraordinary trip inspired us all to take this journey of a lifetime. We’re further indebted to the Academy for recognizing the transcendent performances of our partners Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali. We extend our deep gratitude to our partners Participant Media, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures for allowing us to make this dream come true."

  • Graham King

    "A heartfelt thank you to the Academy for recognizing a film that has been a true collaboration from a team with a specific vision and determination to honor Freddie Mercury and Queen. I'm extraordinarily proud of all of the nominations and the entire Bohemian Rhapsody team. It has taken nearly a decade to bring this project to the screen, so to see the world celebrate this film is incredibly thrilling."

  • Nicholas Britell

    "This means more than I can say," Britell said, explaining that he had already talked with Beale Street director Barry Jenkins. "I'm so profoundly grateful to Barry … and our whole Beale Street team. I said how much I love him, and thank you. I was somewhat incoherent.” He had also heard from others from the film, including producers Jeremy Kleiner and Adele Romanski. Having also composed the score for Vice, Britell also spoke with director Adam McKay. "I was very excited for Adam and the Vice team."

  • Hank Corwin

    "Isn't this something? I'm shell-shocked," Corwin said of his second Oscar nomination (following his work on Vice director Adam McKay's The Big Short). "This morning a number of us went to Adam's house to watch the nominations. It was stunning. I was so happy for Adam getting three nominations; he worked so hard. We were drinking coffee and eating waffles. It's become a little bit of a tradition. We did the same thing for The Big Short. And you have no idea what's going to happen."

  • Barry Jenkins

    "It's such an honor to be in the company of peers and legends I admire. And even more, it fills my heart to have James Baldwin's name and work associated with the Academy I'm proud to be a member of. On behalf of the Beale Street family, my endless thanks to the Academy for once again acknowledging me, my friends and James Baldwin."

  • Nick Vallelonga, Brian Hayes Currie and Peter Farrelly

    "We thank the Academy for honoring us with this nomination. It is all the more life-changing as it comes from our peers, who themselves work to create memorable stories from blank pages. This is the highlight of the journey we have taken with Tony [Vallelonga] and Dr. Shirley, and we'll forever relive this moment. We want to thank our partners Participant Media, Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures, our wonderful actors Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali and Linda Cardellini, and the rest of our incredible cast for bringing their characters to vibrant life."

  • Betsy West and Julie Cohen

    The co-directors of the Ruth Bader Ginsburg documentary watched the nominations announcement together at West's house. "It was pretty nerve-wracking and very exciting," says West. "We can't imagine anything more thrilling and exciting than to get this recognition for a documentary for this particular film on this particular woman," says Cohen, adding that they had just given the Supreme Court justice a call to let her know about the nomination. "She was thrilled, very very excited and happy. That just made us feel great."

  • Trevor Jimenez

    "Hard to express in words, with all the feelings going on right now, but it was such a special moment watching with my wife, my mom (via Skype) and our dog. Something I'll never forget. I feel indebted to them, my family and close friends for all their support and a huge thank you to everyone that worked on Weekends with me in and outside Pixar and to all the voters in the Academy for including us with this wonderful group of films. Mind blown.

    "After working on this very personal film for over a decade, through the ups and downs, this is an exhilarating point to arrive at. I remember drawing from the memory of walking to my dad's car from my mom's house in the Ontario snow, before I had any plans to make a film — just this raw feeling. It's incredible to look back and see how it's grown and evolved to be this film that many talented friends and co-workers helped bring to fruition. I couldn't be more grateful for this moment, and all the people and events that contributed to it."

  • RaMell Ross

    "I'm so excited be nominated in what has been such a great year for documentary as a form. I'm really thrilled for the communities around this film, and could not be more proud of our team who believed. The attention it's bringing to Hale County, Alabama, and the contemporary South, centralizing the black experience in documentary, and documentary film as a place to imagine, all are being celebrated! I spoke to Quincy [Bryant, one of the participants in the film] this morning and he's just amazed; he never imagined people seeing folks in the Black Belt outside of music and sports and violence. I'm looking forward to talking to Daniel [Collins, another participant], too, later."

  • Clark Spencer

    Directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnson were flying back from France when the news broke, so they connected with Spencer via text. "It's such an honor. … The crew put so many years into the film," he said, adding that he was going to Disney to congratulate them. "I'm very superstitious. I got up at 5 a.m. and took the dog to the beach for a walk, which I normally do. The phone buzzed, and it was my sister sending a note. I screamed."

  • Nadine Labaki

    Labaki, the director of Capernaum, which garnered back-to-back noms for Lebanon after Ziad Doueiri's The Insult last year, was waiting with her cast and crew as the Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday morning. "We were watching it live on the internet and hearing it as the first name in the foreign film category — we were not expecting that! My daughter, who is 3 years old, was in the room with us and she started dancing. It's a huge fiesta." Labaki immediately called the film's star, Zain Al Rafeea, who was already screaming as soon as he picked up the phone. "He's been re-settled in Norway and he was actually in school in his classroom. He was following the news on a laptop with his friends and his teacher." Capernaum's recognition aroused a huge sense of national pride for the filmmakers, who feel like the pic is "not just another film, but this was a life-changing experience." Labaki shared how every child featured in the movie who was "struggling to prove that they even exist" and deprived of their childhood is now enrolled in school. "That's the biggest reward," she said.

  • Pawel Pawlikowski

    Cold War director Pawel Pawlikowski did not watch the announcement live. "I was actually on a flight from London to Warsaw. And so I landed in Warsaw to very good news," he said. Pawlikowski also had a chance to congratulate his DP, Lukasz Zal, on his cinematography nomination. "He's absolutely thrilled," the filmmaker said of his frequent collaborator. Making history with Alfonso Cuaron as the first two directors of films nominated for best foreign-language film to have received directing noms as well, Pawlikowski was previously unaware of the film's milestone nominations. "That's a good sign, isn't it? The Academy has really seemed to open up to the rest of the world. It feels really good. To be recognized with Oscar nominations, we're obviously very pleased," he said. Pawlikowski previously won the best foreign-language film Oscar for Ida, but this is his first director nomination.

  • Rayka Zehtabchi

    "The Period. End of Sentence. team is beyond proud of this honor, and we're even prouder knowing that halfway around the world, tucked away in a rural Indian village, there's a group of determined women still working to change the way their culture thinks about menstruation, one pad at a time. This moment is for them, and for any woman who's ever been shamed for bleeding."

  • Bing Liu

    Minding the Gap director Bing Liu was in some "pretty gnarly traffic" in Chicago on Tuesday morning. Hulu's coming-of-age documentary centers on a group of skateboarders grappling with impending adulthood, and Liu hopes this nomination will make people take a second look at the feature. "I think people may think that it is a documentary just about skateboarding, so I hope that people will think again and give it a chance," he said. But what is he most looking forward to on Oscars night? "Finding out what happens during the commercial breaks," he said.

  • Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

    Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, the director of Germany's nominee for best foreign-language film, found out about Never Look Away's two Oscar nominations thanks to a couple of surprising punctuation marks: "I found out through an email from a friend writing to me and [lenser] Caleb [Deschanel] with exclamation marks, and then I immediately looked it up online and saw that Caleb and I were both nominated." Deschanel received a nomination for cinematography. "I called him and he was in London doing visual effects on The Lion King, which he went on to make after ours right away, and we had a celebratory chat." Henckel von Donnersmarck had wanted to work with Deschanel in order to find out just how he does it: "How does he create that light that just moves me? And even after working on a whole film with him, I still don't know because he doesn't have a method. His light is completely emotional. That's what our film is really about, art and freedom and never letting any government or authority or anybody really tell you how you're supposed to feel. It's all about liberation."

  • Louise Bagnall and Nuria Gonz├ílez Blanco

    "Wow!! We're over the moon to be nominated, huge thank you to the Academy! It's been an amazing journey and we couldn't have done this without the support from everyone at Cartoon Saloon, Screen Ireland and RTÉ. The whole team worked so hard on the film and we wouldn't be here without them, thank you guys! We are so excited to be heading to the Oscars, but tonight we're going to celebrate with the crew! We are delighted that the film has resonated with such a big audience and they have connected with Emily. Memory loss is a part of so many people's lives and it was important for us to bring this story to light in a compassionate way."

  • Terence Blanchard

    "It's overwhelming,” Blanchard said of his first Oscar nomination, adding that it's especially meaningful coming from fellow filmmakers. The composer related that director Spike Lee "called me, screaming. We had a great talk about how it all started. I'm truly happy for everyone. [Nominated editor Barry Alexander Brown], Spike — we have been working together for 30 years. This was a culmination of all of our efforts. It truly feels that way. It’s been about family and doing the best work possible, and I truly appreciate the relationships. I just feel blessed to be inspired by creative people with great minds."

  • Domee Shi and Becky Neiman-Cobb

    "This nomination means so much to us and the whole Bao crew. We are honored to be included with such an inspiring collection of shorts. Bao was a very personal film for all of us and we’re so glad that it has resonated with audiences. We’re off to call our moms!"

  • Caleb Deschanel

    "I am really floored and humbled by the nomination — I thought nobody had seen the movie!? So all the better and unexpected. I am lucky to be in such wonderful company with so many great movies this year. But I am especially excited that Never Look Away has gotten a foreign language nomination, so more people will want to see Florian's [Henckel von Donnersmarck] powerful film."