In 2003, Sean won his first Academy Award® for Best Actor for his performance in Mystic River. In the film, Sean plays a grief-stricken father seeking revenge for his daughter's murder.
In one of the movie's most memorable scenes, Sean's character has to be restrained by police officers after his daughter's body is discovered. "It's primal," Oprah says. The scene was so draining, Sean says he requested oxygen between takes.
Portraying a distraught father was trying, but Sean says it's more difficult to play a character that lacks confidence. "On a day-by-day basis, the character in [Mystic River] is carrying around a certain kind of self-respect and pride about himself, however misguided some of his human philosophies might be," he says. "When you go through a movie shoot for periods of weeks and months, that kind of infuses you. … If it's a self-loathing character, you can't help but carry that sort of thing around quite a bit."
When looking back at moments from the film, Sean says he's reminded of his co-stars and of his director, Clint Eastwood. "I always refer to [Clint] as the least disappointing icon in American film," Sean says. "He is as confident as Dirty Harry … but he's just a gentle, smart man who's so comfortable in his own skin that it allows the rest of you to be the same."