Daniel Day-Lewis via satellite

Recognized for his eccentric roles and commitment to his craft, many consider Daniel Day-Lewis one of the greatest actors of this generation. In 1990, Daniel won an Academy Award® for his passionate portrayal of Christy Brown, an artist suffering from crippling cerebral palsy, in My Left Foot.

Daniel earned his second Oscar nomination for In the Name of the Father and his third for his role as the villainous Bill the Butcher in Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York.

His fourth nomination has come for Daniel's deeply unsettling performance as Daniel Plainview—a dishonest oil prospector who will stop at nothing to make his fortune—in There Will Be Blood, the film adaptation of Upton Sinclair's novel Oil!.

Daniel says getting out of the character after shooting finished was not easy. "There's a reluctance to let go of that life, even if the life has sometimes led you into places where you feel strong conflict within yourself. Nonetheless, the work has been fascinating enough and has unleashed a curiosity that then you can't really control just because somebody says it's time to go home now. And so I think it is important to let time pass—I certainly couldn't conceive of going straight back to work immediately after," he says. "It's like the house is haunted for a while. But it's with your invitation, in a way, that the house remains haunted."
Daniel Day-Lewis on response to There Will Be Blood

Nearly everyone who has seen There Will Be Blood has responded very strongly to Daniel's portrayal of Plainview. Joel Morgenstern, of the Wall Street Journal, wrote that if Daniel doesn't win an Oscar® this year, it would be an "injustice."

Daniel says he finds this response to the role surprising. "I knew it wasn't going to be everyone's cup of tea, this film," he says. "But I'm kind of surprised that it's anyone's cup of tea."

Being recognized with a nomination this year is particularly special, Daniel says, considering who he's up against. "It happens to be that this year I think quite a number of actors have given very, very fine performances," he says. "So I'm extremely proud to be included in a small group."
Daniel Day-Lewis on being a father

Daniel's preparation for roles is the stuff of Hollywood legend. He is reported to have immersed himself in foreign cultures, and learned to skin animals for Last of the Mohicans. Some even say he built an oil derrick in his backyard to prepare for There Will Be Blood!

In his real-life "role," Daniel is the father of three. "I don't think there's anything that can prepare you for that," Daniel says. "You can prepare for probably a hundred years and then just be astonished by the reality when it came. Luckily, it takes care of itself."

What's been the most surprising thing to him about fatherhood? "I suppose the delight in bondage, because I daresay for a good part of my life I'd enjoyed traveling light," he says. "And there's nothing more wonderful to me [than] to realize that I was now shackled for the rest of my life…and what a wonderful shackle to have."
Daniel Day-Lewis on being a father

Like many fans around the world, Daniel was stunned when he learned of the recent death of 2006 Oscar® nominee Heath Ledger.

"It seems somehow strange to be talking about anything else, not that there's anything to say, except to express one's regret. And to say from the bottom of one's heart to his family and to his friends that I'm sorry for their trouble," Daniel says. "I didn't know him. I have an impression—a strong impression—I would have liked him very much as a man if I had. I'd already marveled at some of his work and had looked forward so much to seeing the work that he would do in the future."
Laura Linney via satellite

Emmy®-winning actress Laura Linney has been nominated for two Oscars® before—first for her performance as a single mother in You Can Count on Me and then for her portrayal of Clara McMillen, the wife of famed sex researcher Alfred Kinsey in Kinsey.

Her role in The Savages marks Laura's third Oscar nomination. In the film, she plays Wendy Savage, a woman who drifts increasingly far from her family until she and her brother are forced to move home to care for their aging father. "[Wendy is] doing the best she can," Laura says, "But she's a circus, no doubt."

Laura says creating Wendy was made easier because of the terrific script by writer and director Tamara Jenkins. "For an actor, it's heaven. There's a lot to pull from. There are clues throughout. And you just sort of become a detective and try and dig and dig and dig and flesh out what's already there on the page."
Laura's nominated co-star, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Laura's co-star in The Savages, Philip Seymour Hoffman, was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar® this year for his role in another movie—Charlie Wilson's War.

Working with this Oscar-winning actor, Laura says, was "absolute heaven."

"He is kind, and warm, and generous and supportive and I felt loved from the minute he was on the set to the minute he left. I missed him terribly when he wasn't around," she says. "He is the best partner an actress could have, without a doubt. I really consider a third of my nomination belonging to Tamara and her script and a third belonging to Phil."
Laura Linney via satellite

Laura says learning of this third Oscar® nomination was a real surprise. "I didn't really think this was going to happen for me this year. I was in bed and wasn't really even aware that the nominations were coming out," she says. "I remember the phone ringing, and I wake up my fiancé had the phone just coming into my face. It's my future mother-in-law, who is French, and says to me, 'Laura, Laura, congratulations! You have been nominated for an Oscar.'"
Has Laura picked out her red carpet outfit?

While the Oscars® should be a time to celebrate and feel proud, Laura says that can be difficult. "There are a lot of people that come at you hard and fast because they're excited for you, but you can get distracted and really forget," she says. "It's important to celebrate the good stuff because it's hard to come by."

Despite the pressures that could come with the big night, Laura only has one wish for the red carpet. "My goal is to be able to look back on these photos in 20 years and go, 'God, I was young and looked good.'"
Ruby Dee

Legendary actress Ruby Dee has been starring in films—including Raisin in the Sun and Do the Right Thing—for more than 60 years. Her long list of accolades includes an Emmy® win and a Screen Actors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award®. Now at age 83, she has earned her first Oscar® nomination. In American Gangster, Ruby plays Mama Lucas, the mother of Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, played by Oscar-winner Denzel Washington.

"One of my granddaughters called me to say, 'You know, Grandma, you're being nominated.' I said, 'Yes, I've been nominated for a SAG award, an NAACP award, an AARP award.' Which is quite an accomplishment," Ruby says. "'And now Oscar.' I said, 'You mean, like the Oscar?' I was very excited."

Does Ruby think there's some lesson about getting her first nomination at age 83? "If you can just keep on breathing, anything is liable to happen," she jokes.
Ruby Dee reflects on her American Gangster role

Though her screen time is short—only about 10 minutes—her performance was memorable enough for the Academy to take notice. "If you blink you might miss me," she jokes.

Ruby says the experience of working on American Gangster was an amazing one. "It came right out of the bowels of where I grew up, and in myself, too. This whole thing, the character Denzel plays, Frank Lucas, and these kinds of men I grew up with and have known in Harlem who didn't have the opportunity, couldn't get the money to go into business—that whole racist ghetto thing. The banks, can't get money. But still, that doesn't mean you've got to go and shoot people's heads off. And that's where I come in, I think, as a relief. Somebody at least spanked the boy."
Ruby Dee

 Ruby says part of her nomination belongs to her late husband, acclaimed actor and activist Ossie Davis.

"He's up there working on it," she says. "Do you realize, Oprah, since he's been gone I have done what I've never done in my whole career. And that is, I've done about seven projects one right after the other—and I've never done that. It's been like a year or two years maybe between things.

"He knows about these things already."
Casey Affleck is nominated for Best Supporting Actor.

You may know him best for his role as one of the bumbling Malloy brothers in the star-studded Ocean's caper films, but Casey Affleck has finally earned his first Oscar® nomination after years of honing his skills with small, yet memorable, roles in movies like To Die For and Good Will Hunting.

Casey's nomination comes for the Western The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. His turn as Robert Ford, a resentful member of Jesse James's outlaw gang, is being called a breakthrough performance.

The film was also a chance for Casey to reunite with his Ocean's co-star Brad Pitt. "Brad is so fantastic," he says. "I knew him pretty well, and I knew that he's a very charming, easygoing, kind of disarming guy, so I wasn't too intimidated."
Ben and Casey Affleck

In 2007, Casey also starred as a troubled private investigator in his brother Ben's directing debut, Gone Baby Gone. "He did such a good job, I was really proud of him. It was nice to see him kind of blossom in this new way," Casey says.

Casey and his wife, Summer Phoenix, just had their second child in January 2008, and Casey says his family has always stood behind him. Casey's been quoted as saying his family would be supportive if he said he wanted to be a Martian, wear only banana skins, make love to ashtrays and eat tree bark! "It's certainly true," Casey says. "I think my family, they've always been very supportive and put up with all kinds of things. So if I was eating tree bark and making love to ashtrays, they might be okay with it."
Casey Affleck discusses Oscar night.

When the calls started coming in the morning the Oscar® nominations were announced, Casey says he couldn't bring himself to pick up the phone. "I sort of knew if the phone started ringing at 5 a.m. that I'd probably been nominated, and if I didn't, then I didn't. But it started ringing," he says. "I have two kids, and if they're not jumping on my face, I usually don't get out of bed. I just kind of let the phone ring and checked my messages a little while later."

When it comes to the big night, Casey says he's not sure what to expect. "I have to say I'm not so much looking forward to it. It's kind of a weird, daunting…just the idea of going to this thing is a little bit strange," he says. "I've been to some things like that. They're always a little bit overwhelming for me, and I think this is probably going to be the monster of all red carpets."
Amy Ryan is nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

In Gone Baby Gone, Tony Award® winner and Best Supporting Actress nominee Amy Ryan is utterly believable as Helene McCready, the drug-addicted single mother in Boston who hires two private investigators after her 4-year-old daughter is abducted.

Although she's acted on stage and on television, Gone Baby Gone is Amy's first major role in a motion picture. "It's insane," she says. "It's a roller coaster ride, but it's the first hill that you're excited. Then it's the dizzying, nauseating turns, and you didn't tell me there's going to be a corkscrew and a loop and a tunnel! But it's fun."
Amy Ryan on how she learned a Boston accent

Accents are a challenge for any actress, and director Ben Affleck told Amy he needed a flawless Boston brogue for the film. "Ben said, 'I want people at the end of the day to ask me where I pulled that actor off of the street,'" Amy says. "So there's a lot of pressure to get it right."

So how did a girl from Queens master Boston's difficult dialect? "Well, I had [co-star Casey Affleck] and Ben on both shoulders, and Ben cast a lot of nonactors and local actors in the films," she says. "Mostly it's by listening. I think that the best lesson as an actress is just to observe as much as you can. So I would just keep an ear out to anything authentic."

Amy said maintaining the accent could be tricky, but she always stayed in it on set. "I didn't want to stick out. I prefer to hide away into roles and let the character play through me rather than move in," she says.
Amy Ryan on how she's preparing for Oscar night

Amy says the search is already on for the perfect red carpet dress. "Thank goodness there are professionals helping, I can barely pick out jeans and a T-shirt!" she says. "But I think it's like anything, when you see it, you know it, it feels right."

Win or lose, Amy can't wait for her Oscar® night experience. "I'm most looking forward to that moment of stepping out on the carpet. I think that's fun," she says. "Everything else is golden. I got a beautiful e-mail from Ben yesterday that said it doesn't matter. It's over. It's finished. It doesn't matter who wins, it doesn't matter who loses. Because the point is, even not to get it, look at the company I would keep of the ones who also didn't get it. That's not too bad. I'm just over the moon about that."
Marion Cotillard is nominated for Best Actress.

A first-time nominee for Best Actress, Marion Cotillard thrilled Hollywood in her role as French singer Edith Piaf in the French language biopic La Vie En Rose.

Marion's transformation into the legendary performer—from her teen years spent begging on the street to her final days as a morphine addict—has earned her critical raves and a Golden Globe® win.

This year, the Golden Globes traditional ceremony was canceled because of the writer's strike, so Marion says her award was delivered in an unconventional way—to her hotel room by room service! Still, she says she wasn't disappointed with the way things turned out. "I have so many things to enjoy that I can't be disappointed," she says. "What is happening to me right now is something unique—it's huge."
Marion Cotillard says she didn't work in a classical way on set.

Oprah calls Marion's performance in La Vie en Rose transformative. "It's like you opened yourself up and poured her in," Oprah says.

From the moment she read the script, Marion says she knew she couldn't pass up this role. "You don't have the opportunity being a 30-year-old to play a whole life," she says. "I saw right away it was something unique that I would have so much fun."

Marion says that, in some ways, she's been preparing for this role her entire life. "When I was young, I loved to play the old lady, the old man. That was back when I was in 9 on stage in vacation camp," she says.

Marion says she spent a lot of time watching and listening to Edith. "I chose a way to work which is not a very classical way. I decided not to experience the voice or the body language until I was on set," she says. "I would say I fed myself with her."
Marion Cotillard can't wait for Oscar night.

What's Marion most looking forward to on Oscar® night? Everything!

"I'm a French actress with a French movie. I would never have imagined that I would be here with you Oprah, to have a [Golden Globe®]," she says. "It's a whole dream, so I will definitely enjoy every single second of it."
Bring Hollywood home with these fun Oscar ideas.

It's the Super Bowl of the theater world! The 80th Annual Academy Awards® will take place on Sunday, February 24, at 7p.m. CT.