90th Oscars Speech: Allison Janney I, TONYA


ALLISON JANNEY: I did it all by myself. Okay, nothing further from the truth. Thank you to the Academy, my fellow nominees, you represent everything that is good and right and human about this profession. You are all extraordinary. Steven Rogers, look what you did. Look what you did. You are a brilliant writer. Thank you for the gift of LaVona. I did not see this coming, you did. You give new meaning to the word “friend.”

To my “I, Tonya” family: the magnificent Margot Robbie, the fearless Craig Gillespie, a cast and crew and bird that elevated my work. To Tom and Bryan, NEON, 30WEST. My team Janney: Leslie Siebert, Chris Henze, Ilana Reiss, Karen Samfilippo, we’ve been together a long time. Thank you for all of your work. Joanne Woodward, I want to thank you for your encouragement and generosity that gave me the confidence to think I could pursue a career in acting. To my mother and father, Jay, my family, my family of friends, the staff at GADA, you know who you are, I love you. And this is for Hal. You’re always in my heart. Thank you very much.

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A. I’m going to take my shoes off. Usually the dress looks like this. Oh, my feet. I’m freezing. 

Q. So winning an Oscar by yourself with no one’s help, that’s an awesome feat. So now that you’ve won this big honor on your own, how are you going to change on a day‑to‑day basis?
A. I have to be at a table read for MOM at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. So I am going right back to work, and I will ‑‑ I am so happy that I have a job to go to after something like this. Because it could go to your head, and then tomorrow to wake up and feel ‑‑ and have nothing to do and have this whole journey be over. Starting in September when we premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, and the whole journey we’ve been through is extraordinary. And it’s going to be ‑‑ I’m going to have a big crash down after this. So I’m happy that I have MOM ‑‑ the people at MOM to lift me up and keep me ‑‑ keep me going and keep me focused. And I’m just happy to have a job to go to tomorrow. But this is extraordinary. Thank you.

Q. Hi. So where did trophies ‑‑ I mean, you have a ton of Emmys. You’ve got every award leading up to this one this year. Now you have an Oscar. Was that ever part of your fantasy of what your acting career was going to be like? Or is this like this great side effect?
A. I certainly ‑‑ I kind of didn’t dare to dream of things like this, because I didn’t want to be disappointed. And I think at a certain point, I had given up thinking this would happen for me because I just wasn’t getting the kind of roles in film that would give me attention like this, and that’s what my very good friend Steven Rogers did for me. He says he did it ‑‑ wrote this for me to do just that, to show a different side of me and show that I could ‑‑ what I could do, and I will never be able to repay him. It’s an extraordinary gift he gave me. It’s kind of overwhelming. I think I’m going to get him a Rolex. I don’t know. What do you think? And engrave it on the back. I haven’t figured out what, but I’ve got to get him a good present. That’s a start at least.

Q. You’ve spoken about using your inner critic.
A. Yes. (Indiscernible cross‑talk.)

Q. But what is your inner voice saying right now?
A. “Bravo. Good going, girl. I’m proud of you.”

Q. We’re asking what makes a great story?
A. Oh, God. What makes a great story? Fully realized characters, characters with ‑‑ who have big needs, wants, desires that butt up against people who don’t want them to have them. Definitely great characters and great writing. Great writing is key. That’s why I’m ‑‑ when I read a script as an actress that I get excited about like I, TONYA or AMERICAN BEAUTY or JUNO, things that ‑‑ or WEST WING I’ve gotten to do. That just gets me so ‑‑ it makes me want to come alive, and I feel like I come alive when I do all different roles I’ve gotten to do. And it’s how I feel the most tethered to the earth, and I feel a communicator when I’m sit‑ ‑‑ telling others’ stories. And great storytellers are great writers, and I like telling ‑‑ I like telling stories.

Q. Can you talk us through a little bit of what it was like working with Margot Robbie and director Craig Gillespie?
A. Craig Gillespie? Yeah. I met them both ‑‑ well, I met Margot the day before I started shooting, and I really ‑‑ I only had eight days to shoot this role with them because I was doing MOM, and I was rehearsing for SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION, the Broadway play I did last spring. I’ve never been more busy as I was last year, so when this came together, I had no time to do it, and all of the producers made it happen, the producers of MOM and SIX DEGREES and Margot and Tom and Bryan, Bryan Unkeless and Tom Ackerley of LuckyChap. They made it happen for me, and they’re extraordinary.

Margot has ‑‑ she’s kind of a phenomenon. Because I have no head for business whatsoever. All I know how to do was be emote [sic] and do my act. But she’s got this great head for business and a beautiful heart and an artist’s soul and a heart. And she’s remarkable, and I cannot wait to see what she’s going to accomplish in her career. She’s, you know, 20‑nothing, and she’s done this unbelievable performance in I, TONYA, and she’s going to do extraordinary things. They’re both ‑‑ and Craig’s just ‑‑ he killed this movie. He just killed it. And I mean killed in a good way. He just nailed it. He knew how to ‑‑ he knew how to get just ‑‑ was a running freight train. We had no time to shoot it, and he had the best sense of humor and best attitude, and knew how to grab things on the fly. And he’s just ‑‑ remarkable man. They’re both ‑‑ I’ve never even been to Australia, but I’ve got to go now. Because, I ‑‑ yeah.

Q. Yeah, come on down.
A. Good on ya.

Q. Shrimp on the barbie?
A. Exactly.

Q. Congratulations.

Matthew Sardo
Matthew Sardo
As the founder of Monkeys Fighting Robots, I'm currently training for my next job as an astronaut cowboy. Reformed hockey goon, comic book store owner, video store clerk, an extra in 'Transformers: Dark of the Moon,' 'Welcome Back Freshman,' and for one special day, I was a Ghostbuster.