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Saturday 20 January 2018

Oscars: We talk to stars from Susan Sarandon to Steve McQueen about winning their golden statuettes

It was nice to show the bottom part of my dress

Susan Sarandon. Photographed by Chris Buck at Spin Ping Pong Social Club, New York
Susan Sarandon. Photographed by Chris Buck at Spin Ping Pong Social Club, New York

Susan Sarandon: 'This Oscar came as my fifth nomination so it was nice to finally get up and show the bottom part of my dress. If you are nominated for best actress you wait until the end of the evening: your blood sugar is so low you are lucky if you remember why you are there. Larry Fishburne leaned over to me and said, 'If you don't get it this time, we are burning this place down'.

There is a downside: you are nervous about thanking people and making sure that you aren't a blubbering idiot. My kids weren't interested in going with me, which was too bad, but they were watching at the hotel and one of my sons thought I was going to faint - he saw me put my hand up to my head. We went back to the hotel after the show to reassure them I hadn't. They were still awake.

Because the whole thing starts so early - you always half feel like a hooker, walking around with all that make-up and jewellery on at 3pm.

The most moving part was just having everyone stand and applaud for so long. I looked out and saw [Jack] Nicholson and Meryl [Streep] and a lot of people that I knew. I felt the warmth of that moment, especially as it's not an easy business to survive in and stay sane. Plus it was pretty loaded, having found the book and developed it and beating Tim [Robbins], my partner at the time, into making it. Out of all my nominations, it was the film that meant the most.

At the same time, all actors realise that a race for recognition, in a business that is so connected to commerce, is a very subjective thing. There are so many performances that don't get recognition - especially these days when you have to have so much money to run a campaign. The first time I was nominated, for Louis Malle's Atlantic City, I got a message I had been nominated. I called the studio, who were like, 'We don't know how that happened'. That would never happen now. And there are so many ways that people vote that are just not that serious; like, they think, 'It's so great that she made herself look ugly and stuck on a fake nose,' or 'I feel good about voting for Mandela', and 'I like Gandhi' - I'm not convinced everyone sat through three hours of Gandhi.

Any sane actor knows that there are only so many great parts. If Jessica Lange or Meryl Streep or Sigourney Weaver had found the book of Dead Man Walking, they probably would have got the nomination, just like there are other actresses who can play the roles Meryl is doing. You are very lucky to find something that is really juicy and you can dig your teeth into. On the other hand, it is a wonderful club to be part of, to be able to say 'Susan Sarandon, Oscar winner', as opposed to 'four-time loser'.'

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