If you were invited to Emma Stone’s house in New York City, one thing would be missing: her Oscar.
The star of “The Help” cautioned that she’s just not that showy. “I’m not the type to put laser lights around the Oscar to announce, ‘Hello, here I am!’ ” she said with a laugh.
“The truth is my mom has my Oscar,” said Stone, 30, who won best actress for the movie musical “La La Land.” “But I do have other awards on display at my home — my Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award and my fourth-grade spelling bee award are on full display.”
What word did she have to spell to win the latter?
“I think it was ‘illuminate,’ ” said the native of Scottsdale, Arizona, who is having an illuminating holiday season with another potential Oscar nomination for the period piece “The Favourite.” Set in England in the early 18th century, the film revolves around a frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), who relies on her childhood best friend, trusted palace ally and secret lover Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz). Their bond crumbles with the arrival of Sarah’s cousin Abigail (Stone), a down-on-her-luck servant filled with schemes and ambitions.
Review-Journal: How do you like to spend Sundays?
Emma Stone: I like to sit at home and color. I like coloring because it’s just relaxing. The rest of the day is reading, hanging out with my friends and going to movies. If we’re going for bad foods, it’s grilled cheese and potato chips.
Do you have a disguise when you go to movies?
I have this horrible hat that’s made out of felt. It looks like I should be riding a horse when I wear this big felt thing. I’ve been wearing it everywhere for two years and it needs to be retired, but I just can’t let it go.
What drew you to the character of Abigail in “The Favourite”?
This woman wasn’t a challenge to play. She was a joy. She had the full spectrum of different emotions. I didn’t have to focus on being wide-eyed and charming unless it was for a reason. And there were always reasons for her madness. It wasn’t just an attempt to rise to power for Abigail. Her father fell on bad times and she was basically sent away to live and sleep with a man in order to pay his debt. Later, she worked as a maid in the palace. Above all, she is a survivor.
An ambitious survivor.
It’s bleak when we meet her, but this woman has a spark. She knows how to fix it. She’s smart and she’s a schemer. Just like so many people, she can be lovely and empathetic, but also dark and cruel at times. The queen was also all of those things, as was Sarah. You had three equally matched women, which was amazing.
What was it like to be on a set where three women were the stars?
We were all very happy. It’s no coincidence that two of the most exciting, fun, crazy sets for me were “The Help” and “The Favourite.” It was wonderful to be with these strong women, but it was also amazing to be with Nicholas (Holt) and Joe (Alwyn) who are also in the film. Yes, there were a lot of women in the cast, but the guys were amazing, too. It was a great atmosphere across the board.
You had to participate in etiquette training. What did you learn?
I learned how to curtsy, hold a fan and rise and sit in a chair like a proper lady, which I’m not doing right now.
How has your idea of Hollywood changed since you were a teen who made a Power Point presentation that convinced your mom to move to Hollywood with you?
The thing you realize when you’re older is that your dreams rise to meet you. And your dreams also taper off to give way to reality. There is constant shifting, which is just part of life. I’ve let go of some of the idealization about Hollywood. Nothing looks the way you imagine it. As a teenager, it looked one way to me. In some ways, it’s a lot better now.
Were you ever worried about being typecast as the quirky, nice one?
I don’t know if I ever worried about being typecast. I remember doing “The Help” after “Easy A” and people said, “Wow, what’s it like for you to do a dramatic role because you’re a ‘funny actress?’ ” A role is a role. You take comedy seriously when you’re playing it. You take dramatic roles seriously. I’ve been lucky to work with actors and directors who can see past the labels.
How has the women’s movement changed things in Hollywood?
I do like that things are changing in a big way for women in this business. We’re vocalizing a lot more and I don’t think things get swept under the rug as much. I’m talking about roles for women and not rights for women.
Where do you see the #MeToo movement going next?
I’m hoping for a permanent shift. I’m not a fortune-teller, but I would hope this movement continues. It’s up to us.
What do you remember the most about winning your Oscar?
I just remember being so happy … and being there with my brother.
Do you live and die by the box office results of your films?
I’m not in charge of box office and it doesn’t affect me on a personal level. Of course, I feel protective of producers or directors who cast me in roles. I look at films as more of the journey. And I’ve been loving the journey and the memories of having made a film. I just don’t get too attached to the outcome of it. I know some actors who torture themselves about the outcome. What can you do? You’re not the studio. You’re not making the marketing decisions.
Do you ever jump online and read about yourself?
I try not to do it. Everything cuts me deep. I don’t know if a bad review would get me. Maybe it would. I’m so sensitive. Mean comments get me. Sometimes, if I read a bad comment — and if I’m in a bad, hormonal phase — it really hurts my feelings. I want to shout, “What are you doing? Why are you reading this stuff? Why be so cruel to yourself? Why are you being so emotional?”