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Jared Leto at the 2014 Oscar Nominees Luncheon

Jared Leto at the 2014 Oscar Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif.
Jared Leto at the 2014 Oscar Nominees Luncheon in Beverly Hills, Calif.Getty Images

The 2014 Oscar Nominees Luncheon took place Feb. 10 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, Calif. Nominees gathered to have lunch, pose for photos, receive their official Academy Award nomination certificate, and do interviews. (The 86th annual Oscar ceremony takes place March 2, 2014, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. ABC has the live U.S. telecast of the show at 7 p.m. EST/4 p.m. PST.) Here is what this Oscar nominee said when doing a brief press conference interview in the Oscar Nominees Luncheon’s press room.

JARED LETO

Nominated for:
Best Supporting Actor
(“Dallas Buyers Club”)

Your mother has been by your side at some of these awards shows. What kind of strength does she bring to you?

What a nice question to start with. We were born very poor, into pretty humble surroundings. And my mother always wanted to do something better with her life. She wanted to do something better for her children. She was a dreamer. She was a worker. She still is.

So I think the biggest inspirations, the biggest lessons she taught me was to dream and to do the work that it takes to make dreams a reality. So it’s been fun to bring her around. You get these opportunities to stand up here and say something. The best part is to be able to thank the people who’ve believed in you for so long. And, of course, I could spend every single one of these events thanking my mother and talking about my mom. She’s the best.

You’re wearing some very sparkly shoes right now. What inspired you to wear them?

I don’t dress up very much. I just saw them and thought it might be fun. You’ve got to have fun with it all. Also, I don’t wear a lot of suits and sports jackets, but you want to feel like yourself, not like your agent. Sorry, Mick and Jim!

You lost a lot of weight for your role in “Dallas Buyers Club,” and you’ve said you never want to lose that much weight for a role again. Would you ever gain weight for a role?

That’s an interesting question. I gained 67 pounds for a little film called “Chapter 27.” My mom and my brother saw it. That’s about it. But no, I would never do that again.

Why not?

Because it’s really brutal. It’s not a lot of fun, and it’s really bad for your body. Maybe I would lose a little weight, but not like I did before. And I certainly would never gain weight again for a role. Remind me of that, please, if I ever start the process.

At a Q&A at the 2014 Santa Barbara Film Festival, you had a heckler in the audience who said that a transgender actor should have played your role in “Dallas Buyers Club.” You invited that heckler backstage to have a discussion with you after the Q&A. How did that meeting go?

It was great. I thought it was wonderful. I think “heckler” is a bad term. Really, it was a debater — someone who felt they needed to take a public moment to say something that was on their minds, something that meant something to them. I’m a believer in the debate. I think it’s healthy. I think it’s positive.

Certainly, it’s not like I can’t learn something. I’ve got plenty to learn. So if somebody has an opinion or idea — a well-thought-out one — I’m all ears. So I had a really nice, cordial talk afterwards. And I think the planet is better for those kinds of interactions.

For more info: Academy Awards website

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