Michael Fassbender wasn’t himself when he found out he was nominated for Best Actor on Thursday morning.
The actor told EW he learned about his Oscar nomination while in the makeup chair for Assassin’s Creed (due out Dec. 21). In the video game adaptation, Fassbender plays two characters, Callum Lynch and the character’s ancestor Aguilar, and when he heard about the Best Actor nom, he was in the middle of changing from one to the other.
“I just feel very lucky, very privileged,” Fassbender says about the nomination. “It’s been such a great year for cinema, even films that haven’t been nominated.”
This marks the second nod for Fassbender in three years; he was also honored with a Best Supporting Actor nomination for his role in Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave. Asked if things felt different this time around, Fassbender said no. “I don’t think it ever changes,” he says. “The first time, again, I was very humbled by the consideration. It’s the same this time, especially considering the company that I’m in and the performances that haven’t been considered. It’s always very exciting. … Well, not always, just the twice.”
While Fassbender was pleased to his about the nomination for his Steve Jobs costar Kate Winslet, the snub of screenwriter Aaron Sorkin left him confused. “It’s baffling, but that’s why I was saying that I feel privileged. You can never take these things for granted,” he says. “I’m just baffled by that.”
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When Fassbender called from his trailer, he had just finished his last scene on his last day of filming for Assassin’s Creed, which marks his first foray into producing. Looking back on the shoot, he feels confident about the film, largely thanks to many of his collaborators from& Macbeth, who reteamed for this project. “I really do think we’ve got something original and special for this genre. Just in general, actually, it’s been an amazing journey,” he says. “It’s also great to be back working with [director] Justin Kurzel and Marion Cotillard and [cinematographer] Adam Arkapaw. We’ve got a really good shorthand, so I was very pleased when they came on board. They’ve been invaluable.”
But there’s no rest for Fassbender. The day after finishing Assassin’s Creed, he’ll fly to Norway for Tomas Alfredson’s The Snowman and follow that up with Ridley Scott’s Prometheus sequel, Alien: Covenant. Then, it’s a long holiday that could last half of a year. He’s been planning that for a while.
“I was [hoping] to take a break, when Steve Jobs landed on my lap,” he says. “I just couldn’t not do that. It was such a rare opportunity, so it just sort of went that way. But I feel good. I feel like I’ve got plenty of energy, but I will be enjoying that summer holiday.”