Laurie Metcalf on Oscars Texting With Greta Gerwig, Saoirse Ronan and Going for the E.G.O.T. (Exclusive)

Laurie Metcalf, SAG Awards 2018
Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Turner Image

The 'Lady Bird' actress talks to ET about celebratory emojis, why an Oscar nomination feels different and being one step closer to E.G.O.T.-ing.

Laurie Metcalf is on the phone with me not five minutes after receiving an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Lady Bird. (The film also received a Best Picture nod, while Saoirse Ronan is nominated for Best Actress and Greta Gerwig for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay.) I've never spoken to a newly minted Oscar nominee so soon after the announcement.

"Well, I sure as hell haven't!" Metcalf laughs. Calling from New York, where she is beginning rehearsals on the Broadway revival of Three Tall Women, the actress talks with ET about celebratory emojis, why an Oscar nomination feels different and being one step closer to E.G.O.T.-ing.

ET: How are you feeling? Where are you? Who are you with? Who have you texted? Paint me a picture.

Laurie Metcalf: I'm by myself. I'm in an apartment in New York. I just got in last night, because I'm going to start rehearsing on a play this afternoon. Well, not this afternoon -- in a couple hours. So, I'm getting ready to go to a play rehearsal. [Laughs]

How do you sleep the night before something like this?

Oh, I don't know! I was fine. I was just excited to be in New York, you know? I love it here. What a day for both these things to happen, because I've just been so lucky for the past couple of years of getting this wonderful material sent my way -- which is where it all starts, with the writing. God, I've been so fortunate to have these really strong parts come along.

And Greta is not only nominated for her screenplay, but she also became the fifth ever female director nominated for Best Director.

That's the part that makes me so emotional! When I was listening to it, you know? I started getting choked up, because everybody who worked on the movie just so fell in love with it and fell in love with her and Saoirse, and I'm just so happy for both of them.

Have you had a chance to fire off any texts to anyone?

I just sent Greta and Saoirse a text of congratulations, and I just noticed that Saoirse wrote me back just saying, "AhhhhhhhhhHHHhhhhhhh" like that. [Laughs]

Does that text come with some emojis?

I don't think there were emojis in that one. I sent some hearts! I sent some!

You've won a number of awards now, does an Oscar nomination feel any different?

Oh yeah, it's way different. I mean, the epitome for me was, last year I was able to get a Tony, which was so special to me, because I love theater. I love doing it. But I never, ever, ever in my wildest dreams thought I'd be nominated for an Oscar, ever. It's just...seemingly miraculous, you know?

This is really your first film in 10 years. And it was such a great role and such a great film and now you're being awarded for it. Are you able to be objective when you see the final film and say, "This is maybe a performance that will get some attention"?

No, I'm not able to do that! In fact, I usually don't watch myself in something for at least five years, so I can totally forget about what I did and not beat myself up about it. But this one I did see, because I knew that we would be talking about the movie a lot and I wanted to see the other performances! I'm only in, like, very little of the movie, so I wasn't around when they shot all the high school stuff and everything outside the house. But as far as judging myself, no, I'm incapable of that.

I think it's pretty decided that this year's Best Supporting Actress race is neck-and-neck between you and Allison Janney. Have you guys talked about that or acknowledged that you're going head-to-head?

We haven't talked about it like that, but we love seeing each other at all these events that we've been going to! We always seek each other out in order to say hi. We've been friends for a long time, and it's the first nomination for Allison, also. So, we're kind of taking this ride together.

Lastly, you have your Emmy, you have your Tony. If you win the Oscar, will you start planning that GRAMMY?

I wish I could sing, and I can't. So, if you know any other way to get a GRAMMY, I would love to know. I mean, do books on tape get GRAMMYs? I don't know.

There is definitely a way you can get a spoken word GRAMMY.

[Laughs] Well, that would be the only way that it would happen.