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Entertainment behind the scenes

The dreams of lesser known Oscar nominees

February 3, 2009

It is a certainty that Oscar nominees like Sean Penn, Penelope Cruz, Robert Downey, Jr., and Brad Pitt shannonwill garner the major media spotlight at the world’s top film industry awards on Feb. 22.

But on Monday, at the annual Oscar nominees luncheon, a few of the lesser known stars got the chance to share their thoughts and feelings with reporters about being nominated, and they are some of the best stories to tell.

When asked about his first nomination, Michael Shannon, who earned an Oscar nod for his turn as a voice of reason in suburban adult drama “Revolutionary Road,” related this story. He said when he first started to get steady acting jobs about 10-15 years ago, he received a letter from another actor named Michael Shannon who lived in the United Kingdom. This other actor told him they should talk because Shannon really couldn’t use his name if he planned on having a career. “I’m just so glad I’ve gotten to a point where I can write him back and say, ‘you can’t intimidate me, man.’”

Taraji P. Henson, nominated for her role as a caretaker in taraji“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” said it was only at the Oscar nominee luncheon that she finally believed she was really nominated. “Clearly, they’re not going to ask for a recount,” she said. “My insides are crazy, my heart is pounding.” She added that for her, the nomination truly was a dream come true and added, “In my opinion if you’re not dreaming, your not living because dreams can come true.”

But the newcomers weren’t the only ones who were overjoyed or, for that matter, had funny stories to tell. Spanish actress Penelope Cruz, nominated for best supporting actress playing a fiery painter in “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” said that when she was nominated she received so many congratulatory calls that her cell phone simply “collapsed.” It quit because it was overloaded. ”I took it to repair and they said they couldn’t fix it because they’d never see that happen before,” she said.

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