Christopher Nolan, Robert Downey Jr. and Missed Connections

DOWNEY But you’re not a jinx guy.

NOLAN No, I am! I am very superstitious. I mean, I’m nowhere near as superstitious as you are. But I respect the jinx enormously.

What would it mean to you if you won the Oscar?

NOLAN I grew up watching the Oscars. I’ve always loved Hollywood, Hollywood movies, studio films, all of that. So, yeah, it would be a dream come true.

DOWNEY Things are so weird now compared to the way it was 30 years ago, when I was doing my first little mini round for “Chaplin” [1992, which earned him a best-actor nod]. I remember thinking there was a lot of free time in my schedule. No one on my team was imagining that I should expend too much energy because the award was kind of in the bag for [Al Pacino in “Scent of a Woman”]. But to me, I just thought, this is a pretty light schedule making a run at best actor.

What is it like to be the favorite this time, when maybe, like you said with Pacino, you haven’t always been?

DOWNEY It’s hard to say anything that doesn’t make you kind of sound like a [jerk]. Here’s what I do want to say. I think we would agree in general that something happened this year that has re-established a wide range of filmed entertainment genres being accepted and re-embraced. Maybe not as many as we were used to, but certainly enough to keep the shop open.

Do you enjoy awards season, or is it more just something to get through?

NOLAN [Long pause] It’s a strange process. It’s not terribly natural to me. I enjoy making films more than I do promoting them, like a lot of filmmakers, I think. But at the same time, it’s really wonderful when people respond to the movies. You make the film for an audience, we put it in theaters for an audience, and awards season is one of the ways in which you’re told that you’ve connected with people.

DOWNEY I love this season! Because you never forget your third time.

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