Brie Larson was all glitz and glamour Sunday night when she collected her Oscar Sunday night for “Room” at the 88th Academy Awards.
She plays an imprisoned woman who believably creates a world for her and her five-year old son (Jacob Tremblay) in a tiny garden shed. After Larson’s predictable win, she went backstage to meet with the press and talked about (future) motherhood, boundaries with the press, and sexism in Hollywood. Following are some of her brainy responses:
When you finally do have children, or if you do have children, do you think your experience in filming ROOM will color that experience for you?
BL: Probably. I don’t have kids, but I do have a little taste of an understanding of how complicated it is to be a parent. I think there’s a lot of unknowns when it comes to parenting … I personally have problems with trying to be perfect and being devastated when I realize every day that that’s not a possibility. I think that that comes with parenting, as well. So I think understanding that it is a symbiotic relationship.
Jacob, I learn more from him than he ever did from me. There’s so much wisdom in a child. There is so much ease to the way that he is that I’m really excited for whenever that journey comes. I’m not sure what it means fully to be a parent. I only experience a small taste of it, but I am excited about it. I think children are just magical, full of wisdom, incredible little people.
Can you give an example in your career of a time where you feel like you really learned to stand up for yourself?
Oh, many times. In particular, there were many times that I would go into auditions and casting directors would say, ‘It’s really great. Really love what you’re doing, but we’d love for you to come back in a jean miniskirt and high heels.” Those were always moments of a real fork in the road, because I had (to say) ‘No ‑‑ there’s no reason for me to show up in a jean miniskirt and heels other than the fact that you want to create some fantasy.’ And you want to have this moment that you can reject. That’s the craziest part.
And so for me, I personally always rejected that moment. I tried maybe once, and it always made me feel terrible because they were asking me to wear a jean miniskirt and heels to be sexy. But a jean miniskirt and heels does not make me feel sexy. It makes me feel uncomfortable.
BRIE LARSON IN ROOM – ‘MY MISSION TO REPRESENT COMPLICATED WOMEN’ – ACADEMY AWARDS
So learning for me what it took to feel confident and strong, and take what these people were trying to get to exude out of me come from a personal place, and from my place … and trying to represent in film women that I know, women that I understand, complicated women, women that are inside of me, that became my mission.
And every time I was put in front of an opportunity where I had to decide in those moments, do I or do I not wear a jean miniskirt? They became huge moments of confidence.
With SPOTLIGHT winning Best Picture, one of the really devastating scenes in ROOM was involving the media. We read that was an important scene to you. Could expand on that and say how you feel about that.
Ooh, about the media, to a bunch of media people?
Okay. Ballsy. Yeah. It’s an important thing to me because boundaries are really difficult to create for yourself. Especially if you are not somebody like my character I’m playing in ROOM, who is not seasoned in boundaries and isn’t as aware.
A lot of us in the industry, if we watch that scene in the movie, we can kind of see the train coming. We know, oh this is going to be too much. She’s not ready for this. But for her, there’s no one there that’s on the inside explaining to her that she has strength and boundaries, and that this is not a proper way of going about this next phase in her life.
BRIE LARSON TO JOURNALISTS – ‘WE’RE HUMAN BEINGS – ACADEMY AWARDS
So I think from the journalist point of view, always remembering that we are human beings. We are sensitive, loving human beings that deeply at the core of ourselves are worried that we are unlovable. I think if we can constantly keep that in our heads, especially when we’re interviewing and try instead to get into the soul of a person … and not just worry so much about maybe an earpiece in your ear with your boss telling you that you have to ask something 30 times.
I understand that you’re trying to keep your job. But at the same time, we are people, and I think if we can get back to the humanity of this and respect boundaries, we are going to go a long way. We are going to get real truth instead of performances for TV.
What does your Oscar win say for all of the victims out there who have been victimized?
I don’t necessarily think an Oscar win changes anything for those women. I do hope that, though. And in the core of it when we want to talk about feeling trapped, and that can be trapped in a way that is metaphor or a physical representation of that. We want to talk about abuse, the many different ways that we as humans can be abused or feel confined.
I hope this is a story that honestly changes people and allows them to be free. For me, making this movie was my own search for freedom and breaking free of my own personal boundaries. I hope that when people watch this, they realize that they have it in themselves to break free of whatever it is that’s holding them back.