Kate Winslet, Brad Pitt, Josh Brolin Respond to 2009 Oscar Nominations

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CHICAGO – The lucky nominees for The 81st Annual Academy Awards have been responding to their nominations all day. If you’ve ever wondered how Oscar nominees feel about hearing their name announced on one of Hollywood’s biggest mornings of the year, read on for the official responses from Kate Winslet, Josh Brolin, Brad Pitt, Taraji P. Henson, Danny Boyle, Gus Van Sant, and many more.

Kate Winslet on her best actress nomination for “The Reader”:

“I’m extremely happy to have been nominated. And very fortunate. Playing Hanna Schmitz will always remain one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever been blessed with. I’m genuinely thrilled not just for myself but for the wonderful Stephen Daldry and David Hare. These nominations are a testament to their unwavering commitment to this film. And I’m also very happy for all the people in Germany whose hard work on THE READER, has been rewarded by these nominations. Surely Anthony Minghella and Sydney Pollack are smiling down on us today!”

The Reader opens from The Weinstein Company on December 25, 2008.
Oscar nominee Kate Winslet in The Reader.
Photo credit: The Weinstein Company.

Brad Pitt on his best actor nomination for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”:

“This is a great honor for the movie, and I’m especially happy for David Fincher, for without him there would be no Ben Button.”

Taraji P. Henson on her best supporting actress nomination for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”:

“I am very excited, deeply honored and grateful. I thank Laray Mayfield, David Fincher, Frank Marshall and Kathleen Kennedy for giving me the opportunity to bring Queenie to life.”

Taraji P. Henson (left) stars as Queenie and Brad Pitt (right) stars as Benjamin Button in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Oscar nominee Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
Photo credit: Merrick Morton, Paramount Pictures

Richard Jenkins on his best actor nomination for “The Visitor”:

“This nomination is such an unexpected honor and I am grateful to the Academy for the recognition. I’ve been awed by the work of my fellow nominees this year and am truly humbled to be in their company. Having been an actor for many years now, I am moved by the fact that something like this can happen at this point in my career, particularly for a film that has meant so much to me.”

David Fincher on his best actor nomination for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”:

“Benjamin Button was truly a labor of love and I am humbled by the nomination. On behalf of the producers, cast and crew, I’d like to thank the Academy, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros and most of all the city of New Orleans who gave birth to Benjamin.”

Christian Colson, Producer of “Slumdog Millionaire,” on his best picture nomination:

“It is wonderful to receive this amazing news here in Mumbai where we are premiering the movie tonight. All the film-makers are deeply proud of this recognition which we also hope will bring great joy to the people of this great city. A huge thank you to the Academy… and Jai Ho!”

Danny Boyle on his best director nomination for “Slumdog Millionaire”:

“I’m ecstatic! Thank you to the Academy from the cast and crew here in Mumbai where the film was made and where it’s being premiered tonight. It feels like you’ve given us a billion nominations!”

Oscar nominee Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
Oscar nominee Danny Boyle for Slumdog Millionaire
Photo credit: Ishika Mohan

Simon Beaufoy on his best adapted screenplay nomination for “Slumdog Millionaire”:

“Secretly and sometimes not so secretly, this is the nomination that floats in every screenwriter’s dreams. I am fantastically happy and honored- not just for myself but for Vikas Swarup’s wonderful novel without which I would have never started my journey to the world’s Maximum City , Mumbai.”

A.R. Rahman on his best score and best song nominations for “Slumdog Millionaire”:

“I am overjoyed by this nomination and deeply grateful that the Academy has embraced the music of this film. Slumdog Millionaire has paid magical dividends for so many people around the globe. I am deeply honored to be a part of a film that has inspired so many.”

Dev Patel of “Slumdog Millionaire” on the film’s nominations:

“It’s just amazing. For Slumdog Millionaire to be included in the nominations for the Oscars is a huge honor. When we first began working on the film I don’t think any of us ever imagined that we might end up attending the Oscars ceremony as a result. I’m just so proud to be a part of this project and I have been overwhelmed by the positive reaction to the film. Thank you to everyone who has supported us. I truly feel blessed.”

Freida Pinto of “Slumdog Millionaire” on the film’s nominations:

“The entire Slumdog Millionaire experience has exceeded my wildest expectations. I feel thrilled and so thankful that Danny had faith in me even though I had no past experience in films. Hailing from Mumbai, it means even more to me that a film about this unique city has been nominated for such a prestigious award. It’s been an absolute honor to have worked with such a passionate team and its wonderful to know that critics and audiences across the globe have loved what we have worked so hard to achieve.”

Anne Hathaway on her best actress nomination for “Rachel Getting Married”:

“It is such a thrill to be recognized in this category with these remarkably talented women. I was with my parents and my dog when I got the news and we were all overjoyed- although I’m not sure my dog knew what was going on. This is a great day to be an actress!”

Bruce Cohen and Dan Jinks, Producers of “Milk,” on their best picture nomination:

“Today’s eight nominations are a huge tribute to everyone involved in the making of MILK. The goal of all of us was to bring Harvey Milk’s wonderfully inspiring story to audiences everywhere. The nominations will go a long way towards making that happen.”

Sean Penn stars as real-life gay rights icon Harvey Milk in director Gus Van Sant's Milk
Sean Penn stars as real-life gay rights icon Harvey Milk in director Gus Van Sant’s “Milk”.
Photo credit: Phil Bray

Gus Van Sant on his best director nomination for “Milk”:

“I am so thankful, so humbled, by The Academy for the nominations they have given our film - I’m so proud of our screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, Sean Penn and Josh Brolin and our incredible team, Danny Glicker, Danny Elfman, Elliot Graham, and our amazing producers Dan Jinks and Bruce Cohen. These nominations ensure that Harvey Milk’s legacy will live on.”

Dustin Lance Black on his best original screenplay nomination for “Milk”:

“I won’t lie, I was up at 4:30 AM Pacific Time this morning. I couldn’t sleep. I took a shower, I started washing dishes, I did a load of laundry… I was completely losing my mind waiting for that local ABC telecast.”

“My heart jumped when Josh Brolin got nominated, but the tears started flowing when Gus got his. I couldn’t have asked for a better director for this project, a fiercer protector of this little spec script that meant so much to me. And that script would have been nothing without the dedicated talent of nominee Sean Penn, who truly inhabited Harvey’s soul, and Josh Brolin, James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, Alison Pill, Joseph Cross, and on and on. This film was a real team effort.”

“By the time the nominations got to Best Picture, I was a wreck. Tears… lots of tears. I couldn’t breathe. My big hope had been that the Academy would recognize our film enough that Harvey’s story could get a wider release, but I could never have predicted 8 nominations including Best Picture. I’m still pinching myself.”

“When I first heard Harvey’s story at 13, I was a closeted kid living in a conservative Mormon, military home. It was a rough time for me. Hearing Harvey’s story not only gave me the hope he talked so often about, it very likely saved my life. What happened this morning means this film WILL win a wider audience, and maybe, just maybe Harvey’s message will reach some of those kids out there today who have been told they are “less than,” that they are sick, that God does not love them, and perhaps, from the grave, 30 years later, Harvey might give those kids the hope and love he gave me so long ago. It might sound overblown to some, but I firmly believe these nominations are life-saving. I can’t thank the Academy enough.”

Josh Brolin on his best supporting actor nomination for “Milk”:

“It is very special because of this movie. I am happy ‘Milk’ received so many nominations and that people are paying attention. The subject matter is so timely and important right now because of what is happening in California with Prop 8. When I think about my life a few years ago, being happy just to feed my kids, never in a million years would I have imagined I would be up at 5 in the morning getting phone calls saying I was nominated for an Academy Award. There is no reality to it.”

Elliot Graham on his best editing nomination for “Milk”:

“I am very, very, very, very excited - and excited for the whole film. I’m just so proud of the film; it’s so significant that a story like this be recognized and be a part of this, it is absolutely extraordinary and we are all in awe of Gus and Sean and their talents.”

Danny Glicker on his best costume design nomination for “Milk”:

“I’m thrilled to be a part of the artistic team that told this story, and to be recognized by the Academy. I’m so proud of Gus Van Sant and Dustin Lance Black’s vision and of the actors’ performances. And I’m forever grateful to have a small part of myself up there on the screen in MILK.”

Martin McDonagh on his best original screenplay nomination for “In Bruges”:

“My heartfelt thanks to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, particularly the writers’ branch, for their support. I’m thrilled that a tale so peculiar and twisted, and that was released so long ago, has stayed in their minds for so long.”

Mike Leigh on his best original screenplay nomination for “Happy-Go-Lucky”:

“This is the fourth time I’ve been nominated for Best Original Screenplay, and once again I’m honored and delighted that the quality of writing I and my actors work so hard to achieve has been recognized and respected by my fellow Writers in the Academy.”

Viola Davis on her best supporting actress nomination for “Doubt”:

“I still feel like the little brown skinned girl from Central Falls, Rhode Island who dreamed the biggest dream. And how great that all of my fellow actors were recognized with this incredible honor.”

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