Jennifer Connelly learned a valuable lesson Tuesday about how not to behave while watching the announcement of the Oscar nominations. Connelly and the rest of the twittering Beautiful bunch — in Germany promoting the film at the Berlin Film Festival — were huddled in front of a TV when the unthinkable occurred.
"Two minutes before it came on, I had the bright idea to raise the volume and wound up inadvertently turning the TV off," Connelly explained to Today host Matt Lauer. "We [turned] it back on and it was on the wrong channel. Then we're sort of scrambling around trying to figure out which channel was CNN, and we got something in German."
The gang eventually got control of the remote just in time to learn of their eight nominations, including best picture, best actor (Russell Crowe), best supporting actress (Connelly) and best director (Ron Howard). Akiva Goldsman, the film's nominated screenwriter, tells TV Guide Online that he may have led Connelly to commit the boob tube boo-boo. "I was holding her hand in order to support her," he explains, "but ended up digging holes in her hand with my fingers."
Calling his first nod "thrilling," Howard confessed to Lauer that the high profile pat on the back from the Academy takes some of the pressure off of him. "I'll admit, it is a relief in a lot of ways," he said. "[But] gratefully, I wasn't in any agony leading up to the moment.
"At the same time, I have to say, my heart goes out to those people... who didn't get a nomination, because I've been there too," adds the Apollo 13 and Cocoon filmmaker. "That's not as much fun as being in this seat here today." (Like Billy Bob Thornton needed to be reminded of that.)
First-time nominee Will Smith (for Ali) is certainly grateful that he didn't get KO'd by the golden guy. "The Oscar is one of those awards where it truly is huge to be a nominee and it really does make you feel good," he told Extra. "I'm just excited and honored to be going to the big dance."
In addition to Smith, Denzel Washington and Halle Berry also garnered nods — marking the first time three African-American thesps have been singled out in the lead acting categories since 1972. What does the erstwhile Fresh Prince think of the breakthrough? "It's one of those things where the work is there and it's being recognized," he said. "Black folks are going to be smiling for a couple of weeks at least."
Or maybe not... According to Oscar vet Dame Judi Dench — who snagged her fourth nod for Iris — it's all downhill from here. "The nomination is the nicest gift," she told the gals on The View. "It's terrible when somebody wins. It spoils it for everybody else."
Fellow Brit Sir Ian McKellen — whose supporting turn as wizard Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring landed him a nod (one of 13 for Rings) — did not have to crawl out of bed before dawn like so many of his fellow nominees. "It's as if they announce the nominations so early in the states as a form of convenience for the Londoners," he joked to Variety, adding that the fantasy film's strong showing is a "wonderful confirmation that the public was right. We knew that audiences have been pleased with the film, but to know now that the professionals consider it a job well done makes this all the more delightful."Finally, Renée Zellweger — a lead actress nominee for Bridget Jones's Diary — concedes that she was "shocked" by her nod. And just in case you don't believe her, consider how she spent the rest of her day: "[I was] shamelessly laughing and dancing around the apartment."