Well the Oscar nominations have been unveiled, but that doesn’t mean the pre-nominations campaigning is entirely over. A number of the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor contenders gathered at the end of 2015 to take part in The Hollywood Reporter’s series of roundtable discussions, and while ultimately only one of the participants netted an Oscar nomination, they all remain some of our finest performers working today and turned in some excellent work in film in 2015, so the ensuing discussion is engaging regardless.
Fresh off the Actress and Directors roundtables, THR has released the Actors roundtable discussion that runs for a full hour and involves a wide-ranging conversation with Will Smith (Concussion), Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight), Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), Mark Ruffalo (Spotlight), Michael Caine (Youth), and Joel Edgerton (Black Mass). It is, as expected, a delightful discussion full of fascinating insights and even a couple of uncomfortable moments.
A highlight is certainly when Jackson calls Smith out for trying to sidestep the fact that he turned down Django Unchained, with Smith then going on to explain in detail why he dropped out of starring in Quentin Tarantino’s blood-soaked Western after prolonged discussions with the filmmaker. Jackson also candidly discusses issues of violence and language in feature films, while Del Toro and Smith single out isntances of predjudice they’ve encountered over the years. And of course there’s Michael Caine, who offers up positively delightful anecdotes about his unfortunate encounters with Alfred Hitchcock and Marlon Brando.
So while Ruffalo is the only one of the group who ultimately scored an Oscar nomination, the conversation is extremely worthwhile regardless if only to watch six impressive actors discuss their craft and what it’s really like to be a performer in Hollywood. Sit back, relax, and enjoy.