Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times
You've been down this road before. How is this different to past nomination days?
It's only my second time, so I don't know how anyone gets used to it. Some people get nominated a lot. I don't. I don't take anything for granted at any moment. I don't assume anything is coming my way. It feels so otherworldly. It's not a competition. It gets turned into one in the outside world. Honestly, I am beyond honored and happy. I don't need anything else. I already have the victory.
What other performances had an impact on you this year?
I love the movie "Her." I said, "I don't know what happened to me afterward, but there was this shift." It threw me so off in a good way. Scarlett Johansson — you never see that girl's face. But she conveys everything in that movie.
Matt McConaughey — I've known him for so long. When you know someone, it's kind of hard to watch them onscreen. He just took my breath away. "Nebraska." I didn't know what to expect. You watch the performances of seasoned actors. I got a good lesson on what it's like to throw away a line so the audience hears it better. The comedic subtlety.
If you hadn't been in "Gravity," what other role could you have seen yourself taking this year?
No other role. I didn't want to work. I was in Texas. I had no intention of leaving my house. I have a new little boy. I wanted to get my bearings and just focus on life and being a mom.
I longed to work with Alfonso [Cuaron]. I had seen so much of his work. When you do movies like "Speed 2," you don't have directors saying, "You know what? I'm going to work with her one day!" It was always a joke on my part saying "maybe one day I'll have opportunity to work with someone like him." And when the opportunity came, I didn't feel like I had anything to offer but I was smart enough to climb aboard. I didn't know what we were doing. You just sort of let go and have this experience. Even if the movie wasn't going to be a huge success, you weren't making an Alfonso Cuaron movie because you thought you were making a huge commercial success. You're making it because you got to work with Alfonso.