The 58-year-old actress has been sweeping up awards season with wins at the Golden Globes, Critics’ Choice and Screen Actors Guild Awards for her portrayal of Harding’s mother LaVona in I, Tonya. And now, as the infamous skater told her, she’s going to the “big top” with a Best Supporting Actress nomination at the 90th Annual Academy Awards.
“I got a lovely text from her this morning congratulating me saying, ‘You’re going to the big top, girl!’ Which was very sweet of her,” Janney told PEOPLE exclusively after learning of her nomination.
Janney called into the PeopleTV nominations show where she revealed that a group of her family and friends had flown in from New York just to be there with her.
“First of all, I was in bed last night at 9 p.m. to try to get a good night’s sleep, which is just a joke — I didn’t sleep one wink,” Janney joked. “At 5 a.m. my bedroom door flew open and six people came jumping into my bed. I was floored, I had all these people who flew in from New York to be with me. It was just the most special morning to get up and watch the announcement with dear friends and family.”
The first-time nominee continued, “It’s an extraordinary thing. It’s something you dream about as an actor and for it to happen is amazing.”
The actress weighed in on whether the biopic redeems Harding, the infamous skater who was ostracized by the public for her involvement in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan.
“I think so. If not redeem, at least it gives you more empathy for what she went through in her life,” said Janney. “From her family to the skating community who didn’t want to embrace her even though her talent is undeniable. They didn’t think she fit so they didn’t encourage her. I feel a lot of empathy for her, I think she’s paid a huge price for any involvement she had in the incident with her career being taken away from her. I don’t think we’ll ever know what the real story is.”
Janney also gave a sweet shoutout to fellow Best Supporting Actress nominee and The Help costar Octavia Spencer as well as Margot Robbie for her Best Actress nod for her performance as Harding. But the actress, who told PEOPLE’s editor-in-chief Jess Cagle that she was calling from the Mom set, gave props to her scene partner in the movie — the scene-stealing parrot on her shoulder!
“He definitely deserves [a nomination], I don’t know if anyone does that for animals,” Janney said. “He tried to steal that scene from me. Hands down my favorite animal costar and I’ve worked with lots of them, a lot of them on the West Wing like turkeys. This one was a special relationship we had and he fueled my performance in ways I can’t imagine.”
The 2018 Oscars ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4 and will be televised live on ABC at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT.