'We all started screaming': Margot Robbie on her Oscar nod

A jetlagged Margot Robbie was thinking about leaving the party after the Australian premiere of I, Tonya when the Academy Award nominations started being announced in Los Angeles.

When she stuck around in the early hours, the former Neighbours star had three moments of escalating excitement. First the editor of I, Tonya, Tatiana S. Riegel, was nominated. Then Allison Janney for best supporting actress.

And then - cue riotous celebrations and champagne corks popping - Robbie was nominated for best actress for playing disgraced ice skater Tonya Harding in Australian director Craig Gillespie's black comedy.

"Best editing was the first one to be announced we were like 'oh my goodness'," Robbie said after a few hours sleep. "Then Allison got announced and we all started going crazy.

"Then someone plugged their phone into the DJ booth so it was really loud just when they announced my name. The whole room just went rahhhhhhh and we all started screaming and my mum was crying. It was amazing."

Also nominated for the 90th Academy Awards are fellow Australians Lee Smith, who is up for best editor for Dunkirk, Paul Machliss???, who edited Baby Driver, and Derin Seale and Josh Lawson, whose comic film The Eleven O'Clock is up for best live-action short.

Robbie's first nomination at the age of 27 continues her remarkable rise since she arrived in Los Angeles in 2011.

"I'd spent the last three years on Neighbours saving my money and learning the dialect, just practising my American accent so I could really hit the ground running when I got there," she said. "I'd saved enough money to be unemployed for like two to three years."

In two months, Robbie was cast in the TV series Pan Am then broke through with The Wolf of Wall Street, which led to starring roles in the likes of Focus, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, The Legend of Tarzan and Suicide Squad and allowed her to move into producing as well as starring with I, Tonya.

"The plan has always been in place," she said. "It's all just come together quicker than expected."

While expecting it will be "wild and exciting" going to the Oscars, Robbie is realistic about her chance of winning against Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird), Sally Hawkins (The Shape of Water) and Meryl Streep (The Post).

"Have you seen who I'm up against?," she said. "I'm definitely not holding my breath for a win.

"Being nominated absolutely is enough. In fact, kind of ideal because going up on stage would be absolutely terrifying. This is already the best it could ever get for me."

One of the first messages Robbie received was from Streep via her agent, who said she was "extremely thrilled" for her.

With the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements reshaping Hollywood after an alarming series of sexual abuse revelations, Robbie said she supported a call by a women's advocacy group for the Oscars to have only women presenters this year.

"I definitely do but I also think we need to keep in mind that men can be feminists as well and solidarity is between men and women and not just the women in the industry, though I feel a very strong and special bond with all the other actresses in the past couple of months that I've never felt before," she said.

Robbie believes Hollywood is definitely changing.

"I don't think it could ever go back to what it was," she said. "Hollywood has really owned up to its faults and wants to change. Everyone has made such a conscious effort to move forward with actual solutions as opposed to conversations about what a solution could be."

Before the nominations, Robbie had hopes that I, Tonya might also get a best picture nod.

"I was wishing so much," she said.

But the Academy announced just nine of the possible 10 nominees including The Shape of Water (which led the nominations with 13), Dunkirk (next with eight), Three Billboards (seven), Call Me By Your Name, Darkest Hour, Get Out, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread and The Post.

Greta Gerwig became just the fifth woman to be nominated for best director - also getting a nod for best original screenplay - for Lady Bird, alongside Guillermo del Toro for The Shape of Water, Paul Thomas Anderson for Phantom Thread, Christopher Nolan for Dunkirk and, in a surprise, Jordan Peele for Get Out.

Lost in the drama that followed La La Land wrongly being named winner of best picture last year is how much the eventual win by Moonlight reflected the changes in the Academy membership after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

Adding more women, more ethnic diversity and younger voters undoubtedly contributed to a drama about a gay African-American man claiming the top prize last year and has opened the door for the likes of the horror hit Get Out and the first female nominee for best cinematography, Mudbound's Rachel Morrison, this year.

This story 'We all started screaming': Margot Robbie on her Oscar nod first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.