AceShowbiz -British screen veteran Richard E. Grant was treated to a free lunch on Tuesday, January 22, after breaking down in tears upon scoring his first Oscar nomination.
The “Withnail & I” star will compete for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “Can You Ever Forgive Me?“, a biopic based on the life of author Lee Israel, played by Melissa McCarthy, who attempted to revitalise her failing writing career by forging letters from famous deceased artists to make a living.
Richard, who portrayed Israel’s co-conspirator and best friend Jack Hock, was having lunch in London with his 30-year-old daughter Olivia when the shortlist was announced, but they made sure to keep an eye on the live broadcast online, and both cried tears of joy when his name was mentioned.
“I was sitting (with) my daughter at a restaurant…,” he tells Entertainment Weekly. “She had the live feed on her iPhone. She had one earplug in and I had the other; That’s how we got the news!”
“We both burst into tears,” he continues. “I think people at the tables around us thought we had some tragic news. We got free lunch and drinks, so I’m grateful.”
Richard quickly called his co-star Melissa to congratulate her on her Best Actress nod, and he admits the conversation was just as emotional.
“I’m just absolutely astonished,” he reflects on his own Oscars recognition. “I just spoke to Melissa and we were both crying, so I feel very emotional right now. It’s so beyond anything I could have ever imagined.”
“She just said, ‘I can’t believe it, what have we done right?'” Richard recalls. “She said she was woken up because it’s very early in the morning (in Los Angeles). She was fast asleep and thought some terrible news had come because her phone was ringing like crazy.”
“She’s been through this before on ‘Bridesmaids‘ (for which she was nominated for Best Supporting Actress), but for me this is a virgin first for a 61-year-old man!”
“Can You Ever Forgive Me?” also picked up a third nod for Best Adapted Screenplay, and although there was no Academy love for director Marielle Heller, the filmmaker didn’t let the snub get her down as she contacted Richard to send her congratulations.
Admitting her lack of awards season nominations is “hugely disappointing”, he adds, “She was so thrilled for (us). She wasn’t singing the blues about her lack of a nomination at all. She was incredibly thrilled that this low-budget, small movie got this level of recognition.”
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