8 of the 2023 Oscar Nominees Tell PEOPLE What Their Nominations Mean to Them

Ahead of Hollywood's biggest night, eight Oscar nominees who delivered unforgettable performances this year brought the glamour and excitement to PEOPLE's annual Oscar portfolio

01 of 08

Paul Mescal

2023 Oscar Portfolio
Paul Mescal. Eric Ray Davidson

On Oscar night, Best Actor nominee Paul Mescal can't wait to meet fellow actors he's long admired, he told PEOPLE.

"I'm a crazy Michelle Williams fan. I would find it difficult to even talk to Michelle Williams," he shared, adding he also looks forward to getting to know fellow Irish actor and Oscar nominee Colin Farrell. "There's a long list of people I'm looking forward to meeting."

And he's thrilled his film Aftersun, is receiving all the positive feedback: "It's the dream nomination for this film, which I adore – a small independent film with a first-time director."

02 of 08

Michelle Williams

2023 Oscar Portfolio
Eric Ray Davidson

Best Actress nominee Michelle Williams said she will always cherish getting to work with director Steven Spielberg on The Fabelmans. "To play his mother, who he loved very, very much, is really the honor of a lifetime," the five-time Oscar nominee shared. "He wanted to make a movie about her so that she could live forever."

03 of 08

Angela Bassett

2023 Oscar Portfolio
Eric Ray Davidson

Best Supporting Actress nominee Angela Bassett said her nomination for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever reminded her to "never give up and run after your passion. Maybe one day, something as wonderful as this occurs."

The actress earned her first Oscar nomination in 1995 for playing Tina Turner in What's Love Got to Do With It. With the ocean behind her and the sun shining brightly, Bassett posed for the portfolio at El Encanto, a Belmond Hotel, Santa Barbara on Feb. 9. She said to play matriarch Queen Ramonda she drew from her own experience as a mother: "You're always thinking of them – wanting the best for your kids."

04 of 08

Ke Huy Quan

2023 Oscar Portfolio
Ke Huy Quan. Eric Ray Davidson

Everything Everywhere All at Once Best Supporting Actor nominee Ke Huy Quan got his start in acting as a child in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and The Goonies — and said he is so touched by the response he has received for his latest role as a mild-mannered husband turned hero in the 2022 action hit.

"I didn't think the audience would embrace my return with so much positivity and kindness. It has warmed my heart," Quan shared.

05 of 08

Jamie Lee Curtis

2023 Oscar Portfolio
Jamie Lee Curtis. Eric Ray Davidson

"I'm still processing all of it. I'm 64 years old!" said Jamie Lee Curtis when asked what the Best Supporting Actress nomination for Everything Everywhere All at Once means to her.

Curtis shared that whenever she goes to the movies, she puts a twist on a classic movie theater treat. "I do popcorn with sugar. I sweeten my popcorn. Yes, I do! And I just might throw a handful of Reese's Pieces into it for that surprise."

06 of 08

Brendan Fraser

2023 Oscar Portfolio
Eric Ray Davidson

Brendan Fraser, who is nominated for Best Actor for his performance as a reclusive 600-lb. English teacher trying to reconnect with his daughter in The Whale, said there is a special feeling in the room when the Oscar winner is announced.

As he told PEOPLE, "I've been to the Oscars twice before, and I know the anticipation that builds up to that moment when before the envelope is opened, and there's something unique about it because in that microsecond between when the presenter opens the envelope and speaks the name, something interesting happens when you see the presenter acknowledge who it is, and for a momentary tiny moment they know before they say anything, and it's as if suddenly everything becomes timeless."

07 of 08

Kerry Condon

2023 Oscar Portfolio
Kerry Condon. Eric Ray Davidson

Best Supporting Actress nominee Kerry Condon, of Banshees of Inisherin, had a special bond with her costars.

"I've known Colin [Farrell] since I was a teenager, and I really liked my scenes with Brendan [Gleeson] and felt very vulnerable in those moments," she told PEOPLE. But there was one four-legged costar who really stole her heart. "There was a little calf, who I was really fond of. Charlie was his name. Oh, my God, I loved that little cow."

Condon grew up watching the Oscars in her native Ireland. "My mother used to tape it and we watched it the next day, because of the time difference," she recalled. "It was such a big deal in our house. The fashion, the dance numbers. Americans are just really good at putting on a show."

08 of 08

Austin Butler

2023 Oscar Portfolio
Austin Butler for PEOPLE. Eric Ray Davidson

Austin Butler stunned audiences with his amazing portrayal of The King and earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination for Elvis. He said one of the greatest gifts the role gave him was "getting to meet Elvis's incredible family and all the time we've been able to spend together when nobody's around."

Butler also shared that a big inspiration to him growing up was James Dean; as he told PEOPLE, "I watched East of Eden every day for a week. I was obsessed."

The 95th Academy Awards air live on ABC on Sunday, March 12, at 8 p.m. ET.

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