LOS ANGELES -- Rian Johnson received his first Oscar nomination on Monday morning, recognized in the original screenplay category for "Knives Out."
The movie has proven to be a worldwide success, so far making more than $265 million from a reported budget of approximately $40 million. It has already spurred talk of a sequel.
A playful reimagining of a classic whodunit, "Knives Out" has a formidable ensemble cast that includes Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, Jamie Lee Curtis, Ana De Armas, Christopher Plummer, Don Johnson, Michael Shannon and Toni Collette. The story is what happens when a wealthy mystery novelist dies unexpectedly and his family find themselves at odds over his fortune, while a famed detective becomes involved in unraveling the mystery.
Johnson's previous movie, "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," for which he received sole screenplay credit, earned more than $1.3 billion worldwide. His previous movies include the original stories "Looper," "The Brothers Bloom" and "Brick."
Not long after the nominations announcement on Monday morning, Johnson got on the phone from his home in Los Angeles. For the record, Johnson politely declined to comment on anything "Star Wars"-related.
Q: Did you get up for the nominations?
A: I was like half asleep when Ram 1/8Bergman, producer3/8 called me. I wasn't up-up watching them, but I got a wake-up call, which was very nice.
Q: And how are you feeling about it?
A: It's surreal, man. It hasn't quite registered, but man, I'm happy. I mean, this is nothing to be unhappy about it. It's pretty cool.
Q: You and I talked before the film's world premiere and I specifically asked you then about the fact that the movie was premiering at the Toronto International Film Festival and had a Thanksgiving opening. In some ways it was an award season launch and yet you weren't really thinking of it like an awards movie. And here you are now nominated for an Oscar.