Reese Witherspoon had a good morning: The Wild actress got her second Best Actress Oscar nomination (she previously won for Walk the Line), and her co-star Laura Dern, who plays Witherspoon’s mother in the film, also snagged a Best Supporting Actress nod. EW talked to Witherspoon about her big day.
EW: Were you awake?
Reese Witherspoon: I was asleep.
I’m surprised you can sleep through that! This is a big morning.
I mean, no. The baby was up a lot last night. I was in a mother coma.
Clearly no one told him that it was Oscar nominations day.
Clearly no one told him! He didn’t check his email! My kids were so excited and congratulating me, which was so nice.
How are you going to celebrate?
Well, probably with Laura Dern. She and I are so excited for our film. It’s just great. She and I are standing in front of really a hundred of people who helped this movie happen, and worked their butts off on it, and all that hard work paid off. It’s really wonderful to be recognized.
Have you talked to Cheryl Strayed yet?
I have! I talked to her this morning! She’s so cute! She called me. I was like, “It’s because of you, lady! It’s because of you! You were brave enough to put your story out there and tell the whole truth, and you wrote this beautiful book that people are so affected by and touched by, and here we are!” It’s the greatest gift of my life.
Have you plotted out where this second Oscar would go if you did win?
[Laughs] Um, no. I wouldn’t even dare to think about it. I’m really excited—this whole group of women is giving tremendous performances. I started a company two years ago to just create more interesting, dynamic roles for women onscreen, and we have not just myself and Laura, but now Rosamund Pike as well.
It must be that much more rewarding knowing that you shepherded these movies.
It’s a big deal, I have to say. You have an idea in your mind, and then to have it come to fruition this quickly is really exciting. It’s a watershed year for me. I can’t imagine ever having a year this good. [Laughs] I’m just trying to enjoy every second of it.
We’ve been calling it the Reese-aissance.
Ah, that’s so cool.
But you’ve felt like it’s been a great year?
It’s been wonderful. All I ever set out to do was create interesting roles—not good girls, not bad girls, just complex women in lead roles. To have these three performances recognized, and more importantly, have audiences go see these movies—we just [hit] $31 million for Wild. Obviously Gone Girl is off the charts in box office. It just shows you there’s a huge audience for films with complex female roles. Hopefully this will keep the motor going. Audiences are sending a message to these studios, that this is what they want to see.
Were there nominations that you were excited about? Or bummed out about?
I’m really excited for Wes Anderson and Grand Budapest Hotel. I think that’s such an artistic achievement. I was really blown away when I saw the film last March, and for a film to keep the momentum up that long. It really is a very technical achievement, but it’s some of Ralph Fienne’ss best work, I think. Whiplash is another movie I loved. That director, the way he made a tiny space and moved the camera so well. I saw the editor got nominated, which is so exciting. It’s great the Academy is recognizing films that are inventive and fresh, and people are putting their whole creative selves out there.
I wanted to ask you about Big Little Lies. Are you still thinking that will be for TV?
Yeah, yeah. So Nicole Kidman and I optioned that one. David E. Kelley is going to write it, and we’re trying to decide now which venue. But it will be like, an 8-part miniseries. I’m really excited because, talk about female roles—there’s like six in there. I’m keeping all my friends employed.
You’re like HR!
I would like to be considered head of HR in Hollywood.