In an interview with ABC News’ Popcorn with Peter Travers, Close, 73, opened up about her new Netflix movie Hillbilly Elegy, as well as her feelings about industry awards shows. Close said performances can’t be compared to each other, using Paltrow’s Academy Award win for Best Actress for Shakespeare in Love as an example of a choice that didn’t “make sense” to her.
“I honestly feel that to be nominated by your peers is about as good as it gets. And then, I’ve never understood how you could honestly compare performances, you know?” said Close. “I remember the year Gwyneth Paltrow won over that incredible actress who was in Central Station and I thought, ‘What?’ It doesn’t make sense.”
“So I think who wins has a lot of things to do with how things have been, you know, whether it has traction or whatever. Publicity, how much money did they have to put it out in front of everybody’s sight,” she continued, adding, “I have to be philosophical about it, if I was upset about it….”
In March 1999, Paltrow, 26 years old at the time, won the category, which also included: Cate Blanchett for Elizabeth; Fernanda Montenegro for Central Station; Meryl Streep for One True Thing; and Emily Watson for Hilary and Jackie.
On top of Paltrow’s recognition, Shakespeare in Love also won six other Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Judi Dench and Best Picture.
Close has been nominated for seven Oscars, dating back to her first film performance in 1982’s The World According to Garp. Most recently, she was nominated for Best Actress for The Wife.
“I’m very proud of the times that my peers have felt that my performance was worthy of attention,” Close (who’s won three Tony Awards and three Emmy Awards) told Travers.
As for whether Hillbilly Elegy will be her first Oscar victory at next year’s ceremony? “I know, but it’s so sad if it happens when we’re all unable to celebrate in a room together,” Close said with a laugh, acknowledging how the pandemic makes a traditional awards show impossible. “I mean, that would be ironic, but that’s what life does, right?”
“I just hope I can keep finding the parts because a lot of times I think it’s about the role,” she added.
In February 2019, Close looked back at each of her seven Oscar-nominated performances with Vanity Fair, telling the magazine that when it comes to hoping for an Oscar win she keeps herself “to zero expectations just for my own mental health.” She added that her first priority is crafting a solid character.
“I don’t know if this [attitude] is for my emotional survival, or it just might be who I am, but when I’ve done a job and played a character that I’ve felt was to the very best of my ability, and I got deep into the character and lost in that character, that is the most important thing,” Close said at the time. “When that character has resonance and connection with people … that, for me, is the award.”