The Virginia-born Oswalt, 45, has forged a career in comedy,
with roles in TV sitcoms "The King of Queens" and "Two and a
Half Men," and films such as 2011's "Young Adult" and last
year's "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty."
With his comforting, friendly and often neighborly vocal tone,
Oswalt is also a regular voice actor and stand-up comedian. On
Saturday, he will host the Film Independent Spirit Awards, a
laid-back luncheon held in a tent on the beach in Santa Monica,
California, the day before Hollywood's Oscars night.
Oswalt spoke to Reuters on hosting duties, the industry of
independent film and how to break the ice with nominees.
Q: What's all this about you handing out live birds
instead of the Spirit award bird statuettes to winners?
A: Oh, good lord, no. We just did that as a goof on the
commercial. Why would I give a live, fragile animal to a boozy
actor at a beach? That'd be terrible, no!
Q: The Spirit Awards are the day before the Academy
Awards and a lot of those actors are going to be on edge as they
are also nominated for Oscars. Are you going to put them at
A: It'll be a combination of me being genuinely excited
to be there and them being genuinely buzzed from the alcohol
that they're serving that I think will relax everybody, that's
what I'm hoping for at least.
Q: You're up against some tough hosting competition this
year after Tina Fey and Amy Poehler slayed the crowd at the
Golden Globes and Ellen DeGeneres is back for the Oscars. How
are you feeling about that?
A: Really confident. Of all those people, I'm the
prettiest girl. I don't really think I'm going to have any
Q: You're known for often speaking your mind and calling out
celebrities on Twitter. Is there anyone at the awards that
you're hoping to throw a few jibes at?
A: Oh, yeah, there's people there. I hope they understand
that it's my job to warm people up; I don't think anyone's going
to take anything too personally. Oh, wait a minute. We're
talking about actors. God knows what's going to happen.
Q: How are you planning to break the ice with the
A: The most that I'd say, especially if I'm talking to
someone like Robert Redford or Bruce Dern, I say "Hey, look,
thank you." And they can see from my pasty (repertory)-theater
skin that I'm just a guy that watched a lot of those movies and
I'm just happy to get to see them in real life and thank them in
person for all the amazing work they did.
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If it's somebody new and upcoming, I just go, "Look at all the
horrible mistakes I've made. Please don't do what I do," and then I
mysteriously walk away while sipping my Scotch.
Q: Just to make them more on edge about their career?
A: Exactly. I want to go "Hey, one small step and this is
you," and then I point to my face. And then I just burst into tears.
Q: What's the strangest thing you're going to try and do?
A: I'm going to go commando.
Q: You've had your own success in independent film such as
"Young Adult," how have you seen the industry change?
A: It's been pretty profound. I think the main thing that has
changed is that now I think indie films have to do a little less
begging especially in terms of getting distribution or just getting
seen. If a filmmaker is simply concerned with getting their work
looked at so that they could build their career off of that, if the
initial film doesn't sell to a distributor or entice a studio, they
can go, "You know what, everyone's got a screen in their pocket now,
and I can reach them somehow." And the good stuff does bubble up.
Q: You were also in Ben Stiller's anticipated December film
"The Secret Life of Walter Mitty," which failed to score any big
awards nominations. Were you disappointed?
A: I was just disappointed in terms of, I thought Ben Stiller
did an amazing job directing it and I thought he should have gotten
some recognition for that. I also thought it should have gotten way
more recognition in terms of cinematography, and in terms of his
writing ... this was a really good crowded year, and it really tells
you something when a movie that good gets lost in the shuffle. So
it's frustrating for that movie but I think it's good overall for
the health of cinema.
Q: What are your Oscar plans, will you be attending?
A: I don't think I get to go to the Oscars yet, I'm not a
member of the Academy. I'd love to be someday, fingers crossed.
Oscars day is going to be pajamas, pizza, wine and a big screen TV
and my Twitter feed, that's all it's going to be.
(Editing by Eric Kelsey and Paul Simao)
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