Lexington native Michael Shannon was nominated for an Academy Award Thursday for best supporting actor for his performance in Revolutionary Road.
Shannon’s competition is stiff, including Josh Brolin for Milk, Robert Downey Jr. for Tropic Thunder, 2005 best actor winner Philip Seymour Hoffman for Doubt and the late Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight. Ledger posthumously won the Golden Globe Award for his performance on Jan. 11, and Shannon was a bit of a surprise pick since he had not been a Globe nominee.
Louisville native Gus Van Sant was also received an Oscar nomination for directing Milk, a best picture nominee too.
Despite a strong showing in the Globes’ field, Shannon’s nomination was one of only three Oscar nods for the film, and the only major category pick. Revolutionary Road‘s other nominations were for art direction and costume design. Kate Winslet won a Globe for her performance in the film, but in the Oscar race, her lone nomination is for best actress in The Reader.
Revolutionary Road opens in Lexington Friday at the Fayette Mall and Hamburg Pavilion cinemas.
On the Today show, Entrertainment Weekly writer Dave Karger cheered the nomination for Shannon, calling his turn as a mentally disturbed man, “a fantastic performance.”
We talked to Shannon Monday, and asked him about the possibility of being an Oscar nominee:
“I’ve spent a lot of time the last few months having people tell me I did a nice job and they think I’m pretty good at acting and stuff,” Shannon says. Reflecting on three days he spent last week in Peru filming with acclaimed director Werner Herzog, he said, “Then I went down and got back to actually trying to make something work, and I felt a little rusty.
“It’s nice to have a performance recognized, but you’re only as good as your last thing, and you’ve gotta keep pushing yourself. You can’t get lazy, because then it can all disappear.”
That hardly seems to be a danger at this point in Shannon’s career. Right now, he has two films premiering at the Sundance Film Festival, Missing Person and The Greatest, and he is currently filming an Orestian drama, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, with Herzog.
Shannon attended Henry Clay High School and started his acting career on the stage, including stops at Actors Theatre of Louisville and the legendary Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. His film career has been marked by small but memorable roles such as Dave Karnes, an ex-Marine who spontaneously put on his uniform and walked into the destruction of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, in Oliver Stone’s World Trade Center. Revolutionary Road‘s John Givings, the only character to cheer Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet’s plan to chuck their 1950s suburban lifestyle and move to Paris, falls in line with that resume. But Shannon has also turned in lead performances, including playing opposite fellow Kentuckian Ashley Judd in last year’s Bug. Missing Person and My Son are lead performances.
This is his first major award nomination.
Read more about Shannon here. (Includes audio of interview with Michael Shannon.)