Jamie Lee Curtis Gets Emotional Talking ‘Everything Everywhere’ Oscar Nomination: ‘Michelle Yeoh Is the Reason’

Jamie Lee Curtis is finally an Oscar-nominated actress, and “Michelle Yeoh is the reason,” she emotionally tells Variety’s Awards Circuit Podcast. “Michelle Yeoh is the reason that for the rest of my life, you will say, ‘Oscar-nominated actress Jamie Lee Curtis.'”

Curtis, 64, is raw, unassuming and undeniably grateful for this time in her life and the five decades that have preceded it. Curtis is the daughter of two Oscar-nominated actors — Tony Curtis (1958’s “The Defiant Ones”) and Janet Leigh (1960’s “Psycho”) — and the wife of the brilliant British comedian and filmmaker Christopher Guest (who is working on the sequel to “Spinal Tap”). After 38 years together, what’s her secret to a long-lasting marriage? “I will not be in the sequel to Spinal Tap,” she jokes.

More from Variety

On this episode of the award-winning Variety Awards Circuit Podcast, Curtis opens up about receiving her first Oscar nomination, thanks to her performance in “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” She discusses thinking about her parents when she heard her name called, her five decades in the Hollywood industry, and her two Amazon series that are in development. Listen below:

Written, directed and produced by Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert (better known as the Daniels), “Everything Everywhere All at Once” tells the charming tale of Evelyn (Yeoh), a Chinese laundromat owner who embarks on a quest to save the multiverse. In the A24 movie, Curtis plays Deirdre Beaubeirdre, an IRS inspector who is also represented in various multiverses.

“Everything Everywhere” has been nominated for 11 Oscars — including best picture (Daniels and Jonathan Wang), director (Daniels), actress (Yeoh), supporting actor (Ke Huy Quan), two for supporting actress (Curtis and Stephanie Hsu), original screenplay (Daniels), costumes (Shirley Kurata), editing (Paul Rogers), original score (Son Lux) and original song (“This is Life” by Ryan Lott, David Byrne and Mitski).

Curtis reveals how much she loves the movie industry, and it’s reciprocated. She smirks anytime she reads that an actor or director doesn’t want to do press. “Bullshit!” Curtis says. “They do when the project that they really want to get out to the world requires them doing the New York Times, or whatever it is. It’s the posturing of some separation of church and state — that one is art, and one is commerce and advertising. And the bullshit is that we’re all in this together. We cannot exist without you, you cannot exist without us. That makes us partners.”

EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, Jamie Lee Curtis, 2022. © A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection
EVERYTHING EVERYWHERE ALL AT ONCE, Jamie Lee Curtis, 2022. © A24 / Courtesy Everett Collection

When Curtis first began acting, people told her she should attend acting classes and receive more training. She reached out to Allan Rich, a once-blacklisted Hollywood figure who later found his niche in hundreds of roles, most notably “Serpico” (1973), “Quiz Show” (1994) and “Amistad” (1998). In her first meeting with Rich, she was asked to read a scene — to which he responded: “Okay, so you know how to act. You know how to be someone else. So you don’t need me. What you need is to expand your vocabulary. Watch movies, listen to music, go to museums, read, and expand the choices that will make you as an actor. You need to expose yourself to art.”

Curtis is an endless well of knowledge and anecdotes about her time in the industry. She tells the best stories, such as when John Ritter told her during a TV audition that she had “funny legs.” She credits that moment to her acclaimed performance as Helen, the wife of a secret spy, in James Cameron’s action-thriller “True Lies” (for which earned a Golden Globe statuette and her first SAG nom).

“There is no prerequisite to be in this business,” she says. “Hustle, talent, timing, hard work…boom! And if you have the acumen of a film degree, does that help you? Of course, but it’s not a requirement. It’s about something coming alive on the screen, and I don’t think you can teach that.”

Curtis refers to herself as an “unemployed actor” at the time of the interview, but that may not be for long. It was announced that she was nearing a deal with Amazon to team up with Nicole Kidman for an adaptation of Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta novels. Curtis will executive produce through her production company, Comet Pictures.

Jamie Lee Curtis Variety Actors on Actors
Jamie Lee Curtis on “Variety Studio: Actors on Actors”

For the entire interview, a copy of the Dec. 21 issue of Variety magazine sat face down on the table. That issue was “The 100 Greatest Movies of All Time,” where the staff named “Psycho” the No. 1 film in history. The cover photo was of Janet Leigh, Curtis’ mother, who starred in Alfred Hitchcock’s classic thriller. This was a rare opportunity to ask the esteemed performer about her family legacy.

Holding the magazine in her hands, Curtis gazes at the image of her mother in the infamous “shower scene.” Memories are flooding back, along with the love and adoration of one of the most revered women in cinema history, Leigh — who passed in 2004. After a long pause, Curtis looks up, and softly but passionately says, “She loved, loved her life.”

She continues reflecting, adding about her father, who passed in 2010: “She loved being Janet Leigh. He loved being Tony Curtis. They both came from such hard beginnings, tragic, impoverished beginnings. They were the first people I thought of the second my name was called. They popped into my head. They had that Golden Age of Hollywood; therefore, I always felt their careers were impossible to even come near. And when they called my name that day, all of a sudden, my parents became my colleagues. It evened it all out a little.”

Also featured in this episode is Joel Crawford, the director of the Oscar-nominated animated feature “Puss in Boots: The Last Wish” from DreamWorks Animation. Crawford talks about watching his cast ensemble bring the beloved characters to life and how an off-the-cuff comment by actor Ray Winstone made its way into the movie. In addition, he discusses the animation medium, its growth over the years, and where he believes its future is heading.

And in the Awards Circuit roundtable, the team dissects the Grammy winners (and controversies), and also goes through the Oscar screenplay categories.

Variety’s “Awards Circuit” podcast, produced by Michael Schneider, who also co-hosts with Clayton Davis, is your one-stop listen for lively conversations about the best in film and television. Each week “Awards Circuit” features interviews with top film and TV talent and creatives; discussions and debates about awards races and industry headlines; and much more. Subscribe via Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify or anywhere you download podcasts. New episodes post weekly.

See the latest film predictions, in all 23 categories, in one place on Variety’s Oscars Collective. To see the ranked predictions for each category, visit Variety’s Oscars Hub.

Best of Variety

Sign up for Variety’s Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.