The Big Short director Adam McKay is in a daze over his film’s five Oscar nominations, but that hasn’t gotten in the way of his celebrating.
“There are some mimosas going on, I’m not going to lie to you,” McKay tells PEOPLE. “They just got rolling. Robyn Wholey our producer just started pouring some and there are fresh waffles, so we’re quite happy here. We just said, let’s embrace it, so we have a bunch of people over.”
McKay’s star-studded finance drama picked up five nominations including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Christian Bale), Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Film Editing. And although most of his party celebrated the good news with whoops and cheers, there were a few unexpected tears.
“Everyone in the room kind of had their moment,” says McKay, who set his alarm for 4:45 a.m. to be awake for the event. “My editor Hank Corwin was here, we really wanted him to get a nomination and the whole room just exploded in cheers when he was announced, then Charles Randolph who I co-wrote the script with was here. The only problem was there were kids over and when people started cheering, a couple of the little ones started crying, but overall it’s really, really fantastic and so good for the movie.”
Speaking of things that are good for the movie, the Anchorman and Step Brothers director still relishes the fact that his A-list cast, which includes Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Steve Carell, happily transformed into less attractive versions of themselves for their roles.
“The great thing about it is I didn’t have to force any of them, they all got it right away,” he says. “They knew that they were real people, that they were quirky characters and I think that’s one of the things that attracted these guys to it. They’re all handsome famous actors and love playing characters like this. I was so happy for Christian because man, oh, man he went deep into that character. But top to bottom that ensemble is amazing, so I hope they all feel great about that Best Picture nomination.”
McKay had high hopes for a nomination or two, but is still wrapping his head around the Best Director nomination.
“I said, ‘Let’s hope we get Best Picture then maybe we get one for the editor, maybe adapted screenplay,’ ” he says. “I thought the director one, with all these big names involved, I thought, ‘There’s no way I’m getting in that group,’ so that was the most surprising for me.” His Oscar excitement isn’t limited to his film however – McKay is also happy for Leonardo DiCaprio and Sylvester Stallone’s acting nods.
“It’s very cool. Obviously we all know DiCaprio has been one of the great actors working for the last – when did he do What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? Was that 20 years ago? Is that possible? It’s amazing,” he says. “And I think the Stallone thing is really cool, that movie [Creed] is awesome. I love the director Ryan Coogler, he is so good. And my neighbor is John Glickman is one of the heads of MGM so I’m sure they’re delighted. That’s a tough category, that supporting actor category, a bunch of really good actors in there.”
So which award would McKay love to win? What would be the proverbial icing on the cake now that he’s racked up all these nominations?
“First and foremost, it is all about the movie. I want people to see this movie, so all the nominations are good because it puts a little light on the movie,” he says. “As far as me winning some kind of award, that would be cool, it would be really fun. We were at the Golden Globes the other day, we had like four nominations and didn’t win anything. I was like, ‘This is crazy we’re here, how cool is this?’ That’s how I’m taking all of this.”
For now however, McKay wants to get back to the mimosas and waffles.
“My 10-year-old just came and sat on my lap now, she was a champion and got up,” says McKay. “We’ll probably be here another hour, but then I feel like everyone has got to get a little more sleep.”