When Paul Mescal agreed to act in Aftersun, awards were the last thing on his mind. So, when he found out he was up for best leading actor at this year’s Academy Awards, Mescal tells ABC Audio it came as a shock.
“The way awards season works, there’s always three or four [performances] that are fairly sure bets as you get to Oscar nominations morning. And we were never, ever inside that,” Mescal says. “The drama of that actually happening is probably something that won’t ever happen again.”
While being an Oscar-nominated actor seemed like a far-off dream, Mescal says there was one person who always believed in him — his mother.
“She’s had that date booked in her diary for years. She had lots of confidence, probably more confidence than I did, that this was ever going to happen,” Mescal says.
That date is quickly approaching. Mescal and his mother will attend the ceremony on March 12, and he says he’s been thinking about what it will feel like to experience the Oscars in person.
“I just have a hyper fixation of what it’s going to feel like,” Mescal says. “I distinctly remember waking up in the middle of the night to watch it back in Ireland. That’s the image in my head, is sitting in the car with my mum and driving to it.”
While Mescal’s mother will sit next to him during the ceremony, his father will also attend, seated elsewhere in the theater. Their support, Mescal says, was crucial in getting him to this moment.
“I feel like I’ve had a network of people around me who never said no,” Mescal said. “If I’m ever going to be a parent, I’m going to take a leaf out of their book and never say no. Ever.”