They never dared to even think about getting an Oscar. But the stars, filmmakers and musicians who heard their names announced Tuesday as Oscars 2017 nominees all knew deep down they were onto something special with their films. Over the last year, these Academy Award-caliber artists revealed the behind-the-screen details to Made in Hollywood. Here are the highlights.
Denzel Washington, Fences
Nominated for Best Actor, Denzel Washington also directed the adaptation of the August Wilson play, which costarred Best Supporting Actress nominee Viola Davis. It was material Washington and Davis knew well, both having appeared in the play on Broadway.
“August Wilson wrote a masterpiece that touches you wherever you’re vulnerable spot is,” Washington tells Made in Hollywood reporter Patrick Stinson. “For some you’re the son in that play, in that movie. For some you’re the father. For some you’re the wife. For some, you’re the daughter. There’s something there for everyone. We’ve all seen something like this in our live and had to deal with it.”
Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, La La Land
To recapture the magic of Hollywood’s classic musicals, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone had to hone their dancing and singing skills along with the acting chops that earned them Best Actor and Actress nods. “La La Land” tied a record with 14 nominations, and the stars credit Oscar-nominated director Damien Chazelle.
“He really wanted to make a film that you wanted to go to theater to see and not just watch on your iPhone,” Gosling tells Made in Hollywood reporter Julie Harkness Arnold. “When I read this, I thought he really has a shot at making something like what he was talking about the night that I met him. Then I heard the music. Then it was an opportunity to work with Emma again. It all just sort of started snowballing.”
Octavia Spencer, Hidden Figures
“Hidden Figures” was more than a movie, it was history revealed. The story of three brilliant African-American women whose work for NASA helped made America’s space program soar, “Hidden Figures” earned nominations for Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Actress for Octavia Spencer.
“You have three unsung heroes, and if you look at all of the archival footage from NASA you never would have known that women were directly involved,” Spencer tells Made in Hollywood reporter Kylie Erica Mar. “For me, I don’t want another day to go by when people don’t utter the names Mary Jackson, Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson.”
Mel Gibson and Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge
“Hacksaw Ridge” marks a comeback film for Best Director nominee Mel Gibson and delivers a first-time Best Actor nomination for Andrew Garfield. Also nominated for Best Picture, the movie tells the story of a conscientious objector thrown into battle during World War II.
“He believed in something greater than himself, and he was willing to sacrifice his own life for his brothers, and this is the greatest act of love anyone can do,” says Gibson. “In the midst of hell, where most men are becoming animals, he was honing this aspect of himself and doing glorious things, and saving lives. He was life-affirming in the midst of death. It’s kind of a cool story.”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, Moana
The creator of the Broadway sensation “Hamilton” is one step closer to earning the acclaimed “EGOT” — Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony. He’s already got the “E,” “G” and “T.” Now Lin-Manuel Miranda just needs the “O” following his nomination for Best Original Song for “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana,” the story of a heroic young girl that resonated with Miranda.
“I think the thing I share with Moana, the character, is that I feel like I had a voice in me being like: I want to make stuff,” he says. “I didn’t know whether it was cartoons or movies or musicals. But I wanted to make stuff. And when you’re 16 the gulf between what you want to do and where you are feels impossible. And I feel like Moana is in the same place at the start of the movie.”