Jennifer Lawrence still can’t describe how it feels to be nominated for Best Actress for Winter’s Bone. “I’ve been trying all morning,” she tells EW. “I still can’t really get the words out, I just… I can’t.. Ooph… As you can see. [Laughs] I’m so grateful and happy and thrilled and… tired.”

Though her name has been tossed around quite a bit during awards season, Lawrence is overwhelmed by all the attention and accolades the indie film has gotten — including a nomination for Best Picture:

“When you make a tiny movie like that on a shoestring budget in the freezing cold — this has surpassed any expectation I could’ve had. And that’s why it just feels so good. We all made it without this in mind. We all made it because we loved and believed in the movie. And to see this happen to it and to us, there’s no feeling like it.”

Not that she didn’t recognize that the film had potential. “Once I started working with [director] Debra [Granik] and got to see what a genius she was, even before we started shooting, I thought this was going to be something so special,” Lawrence says. “But special to me. I could never have dreamed that the world would react this way.” (And Granik, for her part, is stoked to see Winter’s Bone up for the top honor: “We may be one of the lower budget films that’s ever been able to participate in something national like this,” the director told EW. “It emboldens you to keep trying, to look for more stories. It gets you all revved up. You want to deliver again. Audiences become your muse. And you want to come back to them with something worth their time. As an underdog, it gives you fuel to want to do good work and bring it back.”

Lawrence, of course, doesn’t have the trophy yet — so how does she feel about the prospect of having to beat Golden Globe winner and early favorite Natalie Portman, who is nominated for Black Swan? “I reeeaaally don’t care,” she says. “I’m going to the Oscars! [Laughs] I really am just happy to be nominated. And I saw Black Swan. I think Natalie Portman was incredible. I’d probably vote for her, too. I honestly feel like I’m in the same category and the same sentence with actresses I’ve been looking up to for most of my career.”

(Reporting by Adam Markovitz)

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