Pinkett Smith tells PEOPLE she told her husband he'd gotten a best actor nod

Will Smith said Thursday his Golden Globe nomination was "a great wake-up call" – but who made the call? His wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.

“I woke him up this morning and told him,” Pinkett Smith, 35, told PEOPLE at the Guggenheim Museum’s Artist’s Ball in New York City Thursday night.

“For him, it’s not that awards are extremely important, but it’s nice to have some recognition from your peers. These are people who watch lots of movies that think he did a good job, so he’s excited.”

She added, “We all are. It’s a good time for our family.”

Smith, 38, is up for best actor in a drama for his performance in The Pursuit of Happyness as a homeless man struggling to raise his son, played by the Smiths’ own 8-year-old son, Jaden.

Smith said of his nomination, “I couldn’t be more honored. This film has been an extraordinary experience for me and my family, and having the opportunity to work alongside my son Jaden was one of the great joys of my life.”

On Friday’s Today show, Smith added that he credits his nomination to Happyness director Gabriele Muccino, “who smacked all the Will-isms away.”

Smith also said that before he shot the movie he met Chris Gardner, the man whose life story inspired the film – and that Gardner seemed to think Denzel Washington might have been a better casting choice. The Men in Black star said Gardner told him, “There are no robots or aliens in my story.”