Oscars 2016: Jennifer Jason Leigh reflects on first-ever nomination
Jennifer Jason Leigh is one of our most revered and beloved film actresses with a list of credits which includes Fast Times at Ridgmont High, Last Exit to Brooklyn, The Hudsucker Proxy, Short Cuts, and Margot at the Wedding. But until Thursday, the actress could claim exactly zero Oscar nominations.
The Academy has now rectified that situation, nominating Leigh in the Best Supporting Actress category for her performance as an Old West criminal named Daisy Domergue being brought to justice by Kurt Russell’s bounty hunter in Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. The orgainzation also nominated in the Best Animated Feature category the film Anomalisa, which features Leigh voicing one of the main characters.
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“It was kind of incredible news to wake up to this morning,” said the actress. “These are two movies that I love so much. The experience of working with Quentin and the cast on [The Hateful Eight], it just couldn’t have been more rewarding. To get this kind of recognition is really such a joy. It’s surreal.”
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Tell me how you found out about the nominations. Paint me a picture!
JENNIFER JASON LEIGH: I was sleeping, and then I woke up, and there were all these texts on my phone. It was an incredible and a lovely way to wake up.
I was astounded to discover you had not been nominated previously. Could you sum up your feelings about that?
Well, it’s just particularly sweet. I did not expect, at this time of my life, to make a film with Quentin Tarantino and make a film that was that revelatory for me as an actor. It’s just an exquisite experience to work with him. And then, to be nominated, to have Anomalisa come out in the same year, which is something I began working on 10 years ago, It’s just this incredible coincidence.
This year has been so fulfilling, and rewarding, and reminded me again why I love acting, which is something that I had — not fallen out of love with — but something that I had just forgotten about. But when you work with (Anomalisa co-director) Charlie Kaufman, and you work with Quentin Tarantino, it reminds you of how amazing an experience it can be. You know, Quentin, he gets the best out of everyone, he really does. He’s such a huge part of this performance, and he does it in these incredibly delicate, nuanced ways. And he makes the set — as brutal as it is — just a place everyone wants to be. [Laughs]. There’s something about his joy that is just absolutely infectious.
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Have you spoken today with any of your Hateful Eight collaborators?
Not yet. I think everyone’s spread out all over the world. After these phone calls, then I can call the cast, because I do share this with every single member of that cast, especially Mr. Kurt Russell.
I must confess I was personally bummed at not being able to write the headline “Kurt Russell receives first Oscar nomination.”
Yeah. I think we all are very disappointed about that. And Quentin [not being nominated], too.
Although Kurt did get a Fangoria nomination for Bone Tomahawk.
How will you be spending the rest of the day?
I don’t know. The day is open! It’s a lovely day, today. I think I will eat something delicious, I think I might go on a hike, I will pick my son up from school, and just have a lovely day.
You should dust your mantelpiece!
[Laughs] Yeah, well, it probably needs dusting.
Do you know what you’re doing next?
I don’t. That I don’t know. But it’s nice to be open in that way, too. Although I would like a job.
Can you say, literally, one word about Twin Peaks?
I can’t say that I even know anything about it. [Pauses] I know nothing about it!!! [Laughs]
You can see trailers for The Hateful Eight and Anomalisa, below.
Head here to see the full list of this year’s Oscar nominees.