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Oscar nominations: Mark Ruffalo feels like 'royalty'

January 25, 2011 |  8:34 am


Mark Ruffalo had totally forgotten Tuesday was Oscar nominations day. He was driving his kids to school  in upstate New York when his cellphone rang. And then rang again. And then rang three more times.

“It’s pretty crazy. I think this is as close as you can be to becoming royalty in this country. It’s like being a duke!” he says.  “I was pretty much blown away. The kids -- they don’t get it, they don’t know what it is. They just kept watching their show, this old-fashioned cartoon.”

Ruffalo’s nomination for best supporting actor for “The Kids Are All Right” is his first nod from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In fact, it will only be his second time ever attending the Oscars  -- and he’s more than a little nervous about the big day. He says he’ll look to Colin Firth as a role model in terms of grace, and he’ll be leaning on his wife for support on the big day. 

“I’ve only been to the Oscars once -- for 'You Can Count on Me' and I sat in the nosebleed seats. It’s nerve-racking,” he says.  “I like to hide behind the characters that were written for me. I’m not exactly shy, but I also like to be reclusive. I like my alone time. I live in upstate New York -- people don’t see a lot of my movies here. They could care less. I enjoy that. I like my anonymity.”

Lisa Cholodenko’s character-driven film about a lesbian couple and their two children holds a special place in his heart and not just because it garnered his first Oscar nom. Culturally, he says, it’s an important film. “They’re not making the same movies they made 20 years ago. There aren’t as many character dramas on the studio level. There’s been a big shift to genre movies and more tent-pole movies.  They’re not making 'The Godfather,' Apocalypse Now.' It’s a different time.”

“But 'The Kids Are All Right' is one of them; 'Winter’s Bone' is one of them. That’s my genre, that’s my sweet spot. That’s what I do best. For that film to be popping out in the culture now -- I’m really proud of that. To be part of that movie, at this moment in time, and have it acknowledged on this large scale, is a shift. That’s the big win.”

-- Deborah Vankin

Photo: Mark Ruffalo, right, in a scene from "The Kids Are All Right." Credit: Suzanne Tenner / Focus Features