When the nominations were announced on Tuesday morning, many believed that Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s name would be heard after he was a surprise nomination and win at the Golden Globes for the same category. But it was Shannon, who delivered a scene-stealing performance and earned a Critics' Choice Awards, who was nominated alongside Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Jeff Bridges (Hell or High Water), Lucas Hedges (Manchester by the Sea) and Dev Patel (Lion). Shannon is the film’s sole nomination.
“I was just hoping that the film in general would get some attention,” Shannon tells ET by phone. “It's one of my favorite films that I've worked on. And I would have been happy for anybody, whether it be Aaron [Taylor-Johnson], Jake [Gyllenhaal], Amy [Adams] or Tom [Ford].”
“It's just nice that it helps draw attention to the film and maybe gets a few more people to check it out,” he adds.
While the role of Lt. Bobby Andes, a compassionate local detective investigating a violent crime central to the movie’s plot and is also dying of cancer, was a complicated one and saw Shannon filming on location in the Mojave Desert, the actor says he still enjoyed the experience.
“I wish I could stand here and say I was really miserable … [But] Bobby was just somebody that I felt like I understood,” Shannon reveals, adding that he drew inspiration from his love of true-crime fiction to bring the character to life. “It’s weird to say about a move like Nocturnal Animals, but I really enjoyed doing it.”
As for his other major film of 2016, Loving, which saw Ruth Negga nominated for her portrayal of Mildred, Shannon says he’s so proud of her and the project as a whole. “It feels amazing,” he adds. “I was hoping that film would get some love -- no pun intended – because I think it’s a beautiful story and immaculately told. Ruth’s performance is just staggering in it.”
While he delivered a standout performance, Shannon downplays any chance of taking home the statue. “I'm not for one instinct, hold any hope of actually winning the damn thing,” he says, preferring to focus on the fun of the event.
When it comes to the ceremony itself, the actor, who is currently filming The Current War with Benedict Cumberbatch in Essex, England, does have to figure out how he’ll get there. Filming ends on Feb. 25, leaving him less than a day to get to Los Angeles, where the awards will be handed out live. “I’ll have to teleport over there,” he jokes, adding that he’ll bring longtime partner, actress Kate Arrington, with whom he has two daughters.
And while it’s easy to think that his proudest moments of the past year would have been making Nocturnal Animals or Loving, for Shannon it’s all about being a dad to Sylvia and Marion. “The responsibilities that hold the most significance in my life is being a father,” he reveals. “Lots of those moments don't happen on the set. They happen in those brief periods where I actually get to go home and take the kids to school and pick them up and cook them dinner and put them to bed.”