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While many actors try to play down the importance of awards, the old adage that it’s an honor to be nominated tends to be true. We’ve heard some pretty interesting stories about how various people learned of their nominations before but it’s possible that Mark Ruffalo may have the strangest story we’ve ever heard. He had to be tracked down to be informed of his nomination for Spotlight because he was completely off the grid at the time.
Apparently, Mark Ruffalo had chosen the week the Academy Award nominees were being announced as the perfect time to attend a silence retreat in Arizona. The point of such a place to remove you from technology and all forms of contact and to spend some time away from all the noise that makes up modern life. This may be great when you’re trying to recharge your personal batteries, but it can be a problem for anybody who wants to tell you that you’ve just been nominated for the most prestigious award in your profession. At this year’s annual Oscar luncheon Ruffalo explained to Variety:
I’d been in a blackout, no phones, no nothing. Just in the quiet desert and off the grid, completely silent. I went into the deepest sleep I’d been in years. And the dude who owns the house comes in at 5 a.m. and is poking me telling me my wife is on the phone. I was so scared until she said, ‘Congratulations, you got a nomination!’ I’d actually forgotten they were that morning, and it was a good thing.
In addition to Mark Ruffalo’s wife, Spotlight’s director Tom McCarthy had also been trying to get ahold of the actor. McCarthy received a pair of nominations, one for directing Spotlight and another for co-writing the screenplay. He wanted to share the joy with the Best Supporting Actor nominee, but McCarthy’s texts went unanswered. Eventually, Ruffalo did give him a call, but he apparently had to whisper in order to abide by the rules of the retreat.
We can imagine the fear that Mark Ruffalo would have had being awoken by a call from his wife. We assume the phone number at a silence retreat is one of those "in case of emergency only" sort of things. He probably spent the trip to the phone wondering who had died. Luckily, it was emergency good news and not emergency bad news.
The fact that Mark Ruffalo attended the Oscar luncheon is a good sign that he won’t need to receive a phone call to inform him if he wins the Oscar this year. The actor had previously stated that he was considering not attending the awards due to the ongoing diversity problem that the Academy is dealing with. While he hasn’t made any more recent statements, it’s likely he would have skipped the luncheon as well if he was still considering skipping the show.
We’ll find out if Mark Ruffalo wins the Oscar when the awards are broadcast February 28.