Boyhood, which is nominated for several Academy Awards Sunday including Best Picture, gives viewers a unique experience. Filmed a few days a year for more than a decade with the same cast, the characters gradually get older over time. While the changes in the faces of acting nominees Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette are subtle, Ellar Coltrane literally grows up on camera.
The fact that Boyhood is a serious Oscar contender means Coltrane has been making the rounds of the obligatory Hollywood parties and doing interviews, including with the Los Angeles Times. He revealed that the whirlwind of Oscar season — during which actors appear at parties only long enough to be photographed before moving on — does make him question its relevance.
“I get the PR aspect; I understand the purpose of doing it. But intellectually it’s ‘What does it really mean?’ ‘What does anyone really gain from any of this?’ What makes me happiest is when I think of this as a celebration of art. For a movie like ours, more people are going to see the movie, and that’s the great reward.”
Coltrane said the parties and “schmoozing” can easily be taken too seriously. He thinks of it as a “big circus” in order to make it more fun.
Coltrane got the role in Boyhood when he was 7-years-old. The film follows his character until he leaves home for college. His co-star is director Richard Linklater’s daughter, Lorelei, who was cast as his older sister. He told Variety he thinks all cast members share a kind of introspection, and that was what won him the role at such a young age. There are, nonetheless, similarities between his character Mason and himself.
“I was definitely a ranting pseudo-philosopher when I was seventeen.”
He also credits Linklater for shielding him from trappings of sudden fame, even when he was a youngster.
“The way Richard works with people, there’s that whole idea of celebrity and he rejects all of that pretty wholly, so I never saw this whole experience that way. As for how popular the film has become and the whole Oscar thing, I’m still kind of wrapping my head around that.”
Coltrane has looked at scripts and is considering more acting work. However, he’s more interested in pursuing higher education first. The star who anchors Boyhood was homeschooled in Texas and said he is not on a path to pursue a fortune.
“I’m not really interested in being wealthy. If I found a project that I think I could add something, then great.”
The Academy Awards will be broadcast on ABC.
[Ellar Coltrane main image courtesy of Getty]