Oscars 2014: 'Nebraska' star Bruce Dern on his Best Actor nomination

Nebraska

Image Credit: Merie W. Wallace/Paramount

The way Bruce Dern tells it, the moment he learned he had been nominated in the Best Actor category for his performance in Nebraska sounds remarkably like a scene from the film itself, which stars Dern as a befuddled alcoholic named Woody who mistakenly believes he has won a fortune. “I have to sleep with a mask on sometimes,” says the actor, who was previously nominated 35 years ago in the Best Supporting Actor category for the drama Coming Home. “So, the Lone Ranger mask was still on. I was stumbling down the hall to go to the latrine. And when I got there, somebody said, ‘No, don’t go in there! Come out here, come out here!’ And there was Laura (Dern, his daughter), and my wife, and my business partner Wendy and I was absolutely thrilled. And a little bit stunned to tell you the truth.”

In addition to Dern’s nomination, the black and white Nebraska also received nods today for Best Picture, Best Director (Alexander Payne), Best Original Screenplay (Bob Nelson), Best Supporting Actress (June Squibb), and Best Cinematography (Phedon Papamichael). “It’s so great to see Papamichael get nominated,” says Dern. “Because a lot of times they kind of dismiss black and white as a gimmick. Well, it made this movie! The heart of the movie is the fact that it is black and white.”

At one point in Nebraska, Dern’s character insists that drinking beer doesn’t really count as drinking and the 77-year-old actor hints he may follow Woody’s example and have a celebratory cold one later today. “No, beer ain’t drinking,” he says with a chuckle. “I’m having a Coke now but I may get to a beer.”

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