Trying to win an Oscar can be gross. Just ask Matt Damon.
He already has an Academy Award for co-writing "Good Will Hunting," and he's been nominated as an actor three times -- Best Actor for "Good Will Hunting" and "The Martian," and Best Supporting Actor for "Invictus." Now he's back on the nominee list in 2017 as a producer of "Manchester by the Sea."
Damon just talked to The Hollywood Reporter about making "Manchester by the Sea," his frenemy Jimmy Kimmel as this year's host, and how repulsed he is by the very political process of campaigning for Oscar votes.
Here's a portion of the Q&A:
How has the Oscar-going experience changed over the years?
With 'Good Will Hunting,' that was kind of the start of campaigning. I went through that experience and then didn't go again for years. Then I was nominated as a supporting actor but didn't really participate a lot. Then, last year with 'The Martian,' I ended up at a bunch of these cocktail parties and it was just so grotesque. It had been accepted that there was a whole season and we all were expected to treat it almost like a political campaign. It felt like it had gotten out of control. It seemed like that Harvey Weinstein, full-court press [worked]. Now I'm wondering if those days are over. I certainly hope they are.
Do you have any advice for host Jimmy Kimmel?
Evidently, he said that he doesn't care at all who wins as long as I lose. I tried to get on his Oscar show last year. I mean, I was nominated; he still didn't let me on. Somebody asked me, 'Do [you] want him to do bad?' I just want him to live up to my extremely low expectations.
Ah, the Matt-and-Jimmy feud never gets old. But it's interesting to hear about these self-promotion parties from the perspective of a nominated actor.
In 2016 Damon was up against Bryan Cranston in "Trumbo"; Michael Fassbender in "Steve Jobs"; Eddie Redmayne in "The Danish Girl"; and Leonardo DiCaprio, who won for "The Revenant." So they probably suffered through the same forced cocktail party chit-chat together. It's like you have to do several month's worth of extra acting on top of the nominated role. But Leo was going to win that thing no matter what, so you could argue that the campaigning was a waste of time and effort, as well as just a "grotesque" way of selling yourself.
The 2017 Oscars air Sunday, Feb. 26 on ABC. Here's the full list of nominations.
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Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has a genius-level IQ but chooses to work as a janitor at MIT. When he solves a difficult graduate-level math problem, his talents are discovered by Professor Gerald Lambeau (Stellan Skarsgard), who decides to help the misguided youth reach his potential. When Will is arrested for attacking a police officer, Professor Lambeau makes a deal to get leniency for him if he will get treatment from therapist Sean Maguire (Robin Williams). Read More
After the death of his older brother Joe, Lee Chandler (Casey Affleck) is shocked that Joe has made him sole guardian of his teenage nephew Patrick. Taking leave of his job as a janitor in Boston, Lee reluctantly returns to Manchester-by-the-Sea, the fishing village where his working-class family has lived for generations. There, he is forced to deal with a past that separated him from his wife, Randi (Michelle Williams), and the community where he was born and raised. Read More