OSCARS Q&A: Ann Dowd
OSCARS Q&A: Ann Dowd
Christy Grosz is Editor of AwardsLine.
Although Ann Dowd has been working regularly in theater, film, and TV for more than two decades, this year marks a decided breakthrough for the actress. Her role in Magnolia Pictures’ Sundance pickup Compliance as Sandra, a malleable fast-food restaurant manager who falls victim to a prank phone call, has earned her a National Board of Review award, as well as supporting actress nominations from the Independent Spirit Awards and the Critics Choice Movie Awards—despite the fact that the film earned just $319,285 in its domestic theatrical run. She also earned the somewhat illustrious distinction of organizing her own informal grassroots Oscar campaign. Nevertheless, Dowd says making the decision was relatively easy, albeit expensive for a working-class actor. “I don’t think I don’t even needed anyone to tell me,” says Dowd, who has appeared in The Informant!, Marley and Me, and ABC’s Pan Am. “When I saw the phrase ‘Oscar-worthy performance,’ I almost fell down. Then I thought, ‘What am I waiting for?’ “
AwardsLine: How did the script for Compliance first come to you?
Ann Dowd: I was in a play in New York City called Blood From a Stone, and (Compliance executive producer) David Gordon Green came to see the play and mentioned to (director) Craig Zobel that I should come in. I received the script, and I read it, and I thought that they must have cast it already because it is a great part. So I was thrilled to go in. I bought the part immediately, which means it was extremely well-written and playable. So I went in, met with Craig and the producers, and I had a great audition. We just had a good work session, which is always what you want. At the time, I think the times conflicted. You can’t guarantee with any film, particularly with an independent picture, to get me to the theater by 7 o’clock to do the play, so it looked like that would not work. Then somehow the date shifted, and I found out I got (the part). This play (had) a very long first scene for me, and afterwards I used to lie down on the dressing-room floor just to recup and get ready for the next one. I was lying there on the floor and the phone rang, and (my manager) called to say, “You got Compliance.” I was lying down, so I didn’t fall down, but I was quite ecstatic.