Austin's hometown Oscar nominations: Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons earn nods for 'The Power of the Dog'
Awards season is so much more fun when you can root for a neighbor. This year, you have at least two local Oscar nominees, and they're a couple.
Academy Award nods came out Tuesday morning. Kirsten Dunst scored a nomination for best supporting actress thanks to her role in Jane Campion's "The Power of the Dog." Jesse Plemons also earned a nod in the best supporting actor category for his role in that film.
They may not keep as high a profile as Matthew McConaughey, but partners Dunst and Plemons have long kept ties to the Austin area. In January, Dunst talked to CBS News about living in Austin with Plemons and their two children during the pandemic.
"People care less because it's not a movie town," she told the news outlet of the city's appeal for a famous family. "They are better with children, the parks are nicer. In general, I've had a more fun time living here." (The segment also featured clips of Dunst walking on the Butler Hike and Bike Trail.)
Plemons, born in Dallas and raised in Waco-area Mart, famously filmed the 2000s TV football drama "Friday Night Lights" in Austin. He's maintained residential ties since. Plemons also will co-star in HBO Max's "Love and Death," which has recently filmed in nearby Hutto.
Dunst and Plemons reportedly met filming the second season of FX series "Fargo," which came out in 2015 and was helmed by another Austinite, author and director Noah Hawley.
"The Power of the Dog," a Western drama from Netflix, leads the 2022 Oscars pack, with 12 nominations including best picture and best director for Campion. Winners will be announced at the annual ceremony on March 27.
In the film, two brothers run a ranch in 1920s Montana. Phil (Benedict Cumberbatch) is hard and cruel, while George (Plemons) is kind and lonely. Their lives are irrevocably changed when George marries Rose (Dunst), a widow raising a bookish, effeminate son named Peter (Kodi Smit-McPhee). Phil, driven by his own secrets, begins terrorizing his new sister-in-law, who descends into alcoholism.
Despite a long career in Hollywood that includes childhood roles in movies like "Interview with the Vampire," as well as turns in critically acclaimed works like "The Virgin Suicides" and blockbusters like "Spider-Man," this is Dunst's first Oscar nomination. Plemons also has never been nominated.
"I was watching the (announcement) livestream on my phone and I guess mine was behind, because my manager called me and was like, 'You got nominated!' " Dunst told USA Today shortly after Tuesday's nominations. "He was crying and I was crying. I was just in bed with my kids watching cartoons. I think they freaked out a little bit because they were like, 'Why is Mommy crying?'"
When Plemons was nominated, "I screamed," Dunst said. "It was like I could release my joy more with Jesse's nomination than my own even, for some reason? I just can't believe that we both got nominated together for the same movie. It sounds like an old-fashioned thing that wouldn't happen now, you know what I mean? Like the Old Hollywood days of 'Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were nominated ...' It feels amazing to have that as a family and for our families."
While Dunst might not call Austin a movie town, its thriving local film scene has launched filmmakers like Richard Linklater and Robert Rodriguez and provided a low-key home to celebrities like McConaughey and Sandra Bullock. Festivals like South by Southwest and Fantastic Fest, too, have brought major star power and big premieres to town.
That means it's not hard to find an Austin angle each Oscar season, if you look hard enough. (And we look hard.) Some recent Austin Oscars wins: University of Texas alum Reneé Zellweger won best actress for "Judy" in 2020, and McConaughey, of course, won best actor for "Dallas Buyer's Club" in 2014.
USA Today writer Patrick Ryan also contributed to this report.