Paul Giamatti, America Ferrera, Christopher Nolan and More React to 2024 Oscar Nominations

“Rustin” star Colman Domingo organized his closet to distract himself, “The Holdovers” actor Paul Giamatti was sound asleep and “Killers of the Flower Moon” breakout Lily Gladstone texted with Leonardo DiCaprio after making history as the first Native American nominee.

On the morning of the 2024 Oscar nominations, Variety spoke to this year’s contenders — including “The Holdovers” star Da’Vine Joy Randolph and “Past Lives” director Celine Song — about getting recognized by the Academy.

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Lily Gladstone -- "Killers of the Flower Moon
Lily Gladstone in “Killers of the Flower Moon”

Lily Gladstone (Killers of the Flower Moon”)

  • Best actress in a leading role

How does it feel to make history with this nomination?

It’s truly something that belongs to my community. Ever since I was little, these people have always been rooting for me to perform. I feel like my identity as Lily has been synonymous with being an actor and performer. It’s pretty immense.

Who will you bring with you to the ceremony?

My mom had to test the waters with the Golden Globes and do some recon for what it looks like to go to one of these shows. She put my dad’s mind at ease so it’s possible for him to go. I’m hoping I get to have both of my parents with me.

Your father exposed you to the work of Martin Scorsese as a young girl. How did he react this morning?

Both of my parents just erupted with applause. My dad did what he always does — a gesture that my grandma and his grandma did. He clasps his hands together and rubs them.

Colman Domingo in “Rustin”

Colman Domingo (“Rustin”)

  • Best actor in a leading role

Did you wake up early to watch the nominations?

I woke up early because my body knew what day it was. I decided to organize my closet at 5 a.m. My husband was watching the feed. When they said my name, he literally laid on the floor. We had a little cry together. It’s unbelievable as someone who has been doing this work for three decades.

You’re only the second out gay man to be nominated for playing a gay character. What is your reaction to that milestone? 

That’s outstanding. Hopefully, I won’t be the last. There are incremental changes, but we need more people to champion these stories. It doesn’t have to look like you to be about you.

You have been killing the red-carpet fashion game. Have you thought about your Oscar attire?

I love telling a story with clothing. I want to be the whole party. I want to inspire people to dance and have a good time.

What kind of roles interest you?

I’d love to work with Yorgos [Lanthimos] in something like “Poor Things,” or to be a Bond villain. I’m not interested in whatever anyone has seen me do before.

DaVine Joy Randolph - The Holdovers
Da’Vine Joy Randolph in Alexander Payne’s “The Holdovers”

Da’Vine Joy Randolph (“The Holdovers”)

  • Best actress in a supporting role

Did you wake up early to watch the nominations?

I’ve been up. I got back from Paris two hours ago. [My team] forced me to watch the nominations. [Laughs.] I get nervous. They said, “This is it. You’ve gotta have this moment.”

How does it feel to receive your first nomination?

I was attracted to this movie because it was about an “average” woman. I’m able to shed light on what makes her special. It’s important, especially for women of color, because those women rarely get credit. Though she is a Black woman, people from all walks of life have come up to me and said “I see myself in Mary.”

Will you and Paul be going to In-N-Out after the Oscars ceremony?

We’ve discussed the possibility of engaging in some In-N-Out.

Who are you excited to meet at the ceremony?

I really want to see Bradley Cooper. He’s lovely. I always love seeing Lily [Gladstone]. Danielle Brooks is a joy. Emily Blunt is so sweet and kind and always has a kind word for me.

Christopher Nolan Oppenheimer Behind the Scenes
Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas on the set of “Oppenheimer”

Christopher Nolan and Emma Thomas (“Oppenheimer”)

  • Best picture, director and adapted screenplay

Does the excitement of Oscar nominations ever wear off?

Nolan: We’ve never had this breadth of nominations. It’s a unique experience for us.

How does it feel to see your longtime collaborator Cillian Murphy get his first nomination?

Nolan: I met Cillian 20 years ago, and we’ve been partners in crime ever since. Now, to see him recognized in this way, I’m so proud of my part in working with somebody so talented, and letting him express his art.

Are you already thinking about your next collaboration?

Nolan: [Laughs] I’m not thinking about anything but “Oppenheimer” this morning.

Were you surprised that Greta Gerwig wasn’t nominated for directing?

Thomas: It’s fair to say that pretty much every year there’s somebody that you would have liked to see recognized. But there’s a lot of talent in that list.

What snack will you be bringing with you to the Oscars since they don’t serve dinner?

Nolan: I’ll eat beforehand.

Thomas: I think I’ll be too nervous to eat.

America Ferrera
America Ferrera

America Ferrera (“Barbie”)

  • Best actress in a supporting role

How does it feel to score your first Oscar nomination?

It’s amazing. I was so moved that my character resonated deeply with audiences. I feel so lucky to be part of “Barbie,” and every moment feels like another unbelievable pinch-me moment.

Who was the first person you called?

My publicist got to me first. And then my husband called me from the car as he was driving our kids to school. He was screaming and emotional.  I heard my kids in the back seat, like, “What are you screaming about?”

Have the Barbies and Kens been celebrating in a group chat? 

We’re all in different countries, so there’s a lot of text messaging going on.

Have you heard from your “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” co-stars?

They Facetimed me as a group right away. It’s wonderful to be celebrated and held up by these women who I’ve had the honor of growing up with in the industry.

THE HOLDOVERS, Paul Giamatti, 2023. ph: Seacia Pavao / © Focus Features / Courtesy Everett Collection
Paul Giamatti in “The Holdovers”

Paul Giamatti (“The Holdovers”)

  • Best actor in a leading role

How did you find out you were nominated?

I was sleeping. I’m a night owl, and I thought, ‘I’m just going to sleep and somebody will tell me what happened.” I’m too superstitious and this was making me anxious. My manager of many decades called me.

Who’s going to be your date to the Oscars?

My girlfriend, Clara, and possibly my son if he’s interested.

What’s your least favorite or favorite part about award ceremonies?

The length can be trying. But otherwise, it’s fun seeing everyone in a bubbly mood.

You stopped by In-N-Out after the Golden Globes. What’s your order?

It’s very basic. I do the double-double with raw onions — nothing fancy. No animal style. I know it’s boring, but I like it to be simple.

You have an incredible body of work, but is there a genre you want to do?

I wish I had done more horror and sci-fi, but I’d love to do a Western. Nobody makes them anymore.

THE COLOR PURPLE, from left: Danielle Brooks, Corey Hawkins, 2023. © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection
THE COLOR PURPLE, from left: Danielle Brooks, Corey Hawkins, 2023. © Warner Bros. / Courtesy Everett Collection

Danielle Brooks (“The Color Purple”)

  • Actress in a supporting role

Did you wake up to watch the nominations?

I’m in New Zealand. I found out at 2:38 a.m. My phone is always on Do Not Disturb. I thought turned it off, but it still didn’t ring. So the only person who could reach me was my husband. He called and was like, “Babe, you did it!” My daughter was like, “Mommy you did it!”

You’re the second person to be nominated for playing Sofia in “The Color Purple” after Oprah. Have you connected with her?

She was the second or third person I talked to this morning. We celebrated, cried and laughed together. She’s been here before, and this is my first time experiencing this.

What does it feel like to earn your first Oscar nomination?

It means a lot because I feel like strangely enough, Sofia has guided me to this moment. It was big shoes to feel by taking this role over from Oprah. I want to carve out a space for myself to say, what Niecy [Nash-Betts] said at the Emmys. “You go on girl with your bad self. You did that.” Yeah, I did that. Every tear I shed; every moment  I picked myself back up; when I wanted to quit. I’m so grateful. I didn’t quit.

Niecy Nash-Betts posted on Instagram that she and Sterling K. Brown are your cousins.

I am the glue. I spilled the beans but I did “Finding Your Roots,” and I found out that I’m related to Niecy on one side and Sterling on the other.

What does it mean to be Oscar-nominated alongside your cousin, Brown?

I’m not shocked because greatness runs through our bloodline.

Celine Song Past Lives Variety Extra Edition Cover Story
Song wrote and directed “Past Lives”

Celine Song (“Past Lives”)

  • Best original screenplay 

How does it feel to be a first-time nominee?

I wish I had a better way to articulate it, but I’m so freaking thrilled and happy.

Did you wake up early to watch?

I like to sleep in, but I was so excited. I had my laptop and I was drinking coffee made by my husband. He recorded my reaction, and my hair looks crazy in it; I have really bad bed hair.

How do you hope this nomination shapes South Korean representation in the film industry?

I already feel confident that what is considered an American film is changing. Subtitles no longer scare American audiences, which is welcoming.

Oppenheimer Movie
Cillian Murphy in “Oppenheimer”

Cillian Murphy (“Oppenheimer”)

  • Best actor in a leading role

This is your first Oscar nomination. Have you wrapped your mind around all of this?

Words don’t do it justice. I get people coming up to me on the street all the time and they say, “I’ve watched [‘Oppenheimer’] five times.” It’s crazy.

Has anyone given you advice about going to the Oscars as a nominee?

I have friends that have gone in the past. They all say it’s a wonderful experience that you never forget. I have to go in with an open heart and enjoy it because it may never happen again.

What do you think J. Robert Oppenheimer would think of all this?

That’s a really good question. I think he’d be quite confused, in a pleased way. He’d be happy that, if nothing else, people will think about nuclear weapons in a more focused way than we tend. That was kind of his life’s mission.

They don’t serve dinner at the Oscars, so will you bring a snack with you?

Maybe I’ll bring some of mom’s sponge cake in my wife’s handbag.

Justine Triet in the press room, 81st Annual Golden Globe Awards - Press Room, Beverly Hilton Hotel, Beverly Hills, CA, United States, January 7, 2024. (Photo by: Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett Collection)
Justine Triet at the Golden Globes

Justine Triet (“Anatomy of a Fall”)

  • Best director

How has this afternoon of nominations been like for you?

Fuck, I’m in such a state of shock. I didn’t prepare anything because I wanted to protect myself. I was hoping to get a nomination for best screenplay, but now this is totally overwhelming. I’m very, very, very happy — and not just for myself but for the whole team. It’s been almost three years since we started working on this film.

How did you react when you heard “Anatomy of a Fall,” and your name being called?

I absolutely never cry, and today I cried. Strangely, it’s not when I heard the best film or best director nominations. It started when I heard Laurent Senechal was nominated for best editing because I realized that we may get nominations in some other categories. The best director nomination is astonishing. I’ll be facing off some heavyweight in that category, but it’s an immense joy. I really, really want to party now!

Who’s going to be your date on Oscar night?

[My partner and co-writer] Arthur Harari will be my date, but everyone’s coming — all the nominees will be present.

SAVANNAH, GEORGIA - OCTOBER 22: Cord Jefferson attends the Breakthrough Director Award Award presentation during the 26th SCAD Savannah Film Festival at Trustees Theater on October 22, 2023 in Savannah, Georgia. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SCAD)
Cord Jefferson wrote and directed “American Fiction”

Cord Jefferson (“American Fiction”)

  • Best picture, adapted screenplay 

Did you wake up early to watch the nominations?

I was so nervous that I stayed up until 2:30 in the morning. I took half a Xanax to sleep for as long as possible. I woke up to 228 text messages and I knew either something great or bad had happened.

Who will be your date for the Oscars?

I would love to take my girlfriend and my father. My father turns 82 this year, and I would love to get him into a tuxedo and get him on the red carpet. I’m going to beg for two tickets because I don’t want to choose between them.

Who are you most excited to meet at the Oscars?

Justine Triet. “Anatomy of a Fall” was so good. Martin Scorsese is a long-time artistic hero of mine. Just being in the same room with him is exciting.

Since there’s no dinner at the Oscars, will you sneak a snack into your bag?

I might be too nervous to eat. I love the idea of stuffing my pockets with loose almonds and wasabi peas like a toddler.

Diane Warren at the 94th Academy Awards held at Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center on March 27th, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.
Warren received her 15th Oscar nomination

Diane Warren (‘Flamin’ Hot’)

  • Best original song for “The Fire Inside”

Did you wake up early to watch the Oscar nominations?

I’m not cool enough to go to sleep and have someone call me. I was up all night with my friends, counting down the hours. I was nervous.

This is your 15th nomination. Does the excitement ever wear off?

It matches my emotional age of 15. No, it’s awesome. It’s the coolest thing in the world. There are only five songs chosen, and I don’t take any of this for granted. The excitement never wears off.

Since there’s no dinner at the Oscars, what snack will you sneak into your bag?

I can’t sneak in a vegan pizza unless I bring a big bag.

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