Believe it or not, the first person outside his family who congratulated Lucas Hedges when he got nominated for an Oscar for Manchester by the Sea was none other than Gigi Hadid. The two of them were set to do a photo together tshortly after the Academy Award nominations were announced, and Hadid, true to form, went up to the young actor to pay her respects. "I heard you got nominated for an Oscar. That’s sick,” she told him, and gave Hedges a high five. "It was amazing," he recalled in an interview with W's Editor-at-Large Lynn Hirschberg. This year's Oscars were a night of many firsts, including Hedges's first time at Madonna's exclusive awards show after party. He made the rookie mistake of taking a picture inside the strictly "no cameras" allowed soiree, and almost got thrown out. "I’ve never been so scared in my entire life," he said. Thankfully, things have picked up from there, and not only has Hedges scored a Dior Homme campaign, but he's got two critically-acclaimed films coming out this awards season, including Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, starring Frances McDormand, and Greta Gerwig's directorial debut, Lady Bird, which opens this weekend.
Tell me about Lady Bird?
I play Danny O’Brien. I think it’s O’Brien. It’s been a year since I played the part. So, I really hope it’s O’Brien. I play an Irish Catholic musical theatre nerd and I get to do a lot of singing. I’m not a great singer, but I love singing and I sing “Giants in the Sky”. The Into the Woods song, which is a fantastic song.
Wow. Do you sing typically? Do you sing in the shower?
Yeah, I sing, like, Vampire Weekend in the shower sometimes because I think the vibe of Vampire Weekend corresponds very well with my shower vibe. The two just go hand in hand. I remember one time in high school I was singing “Horchata” in the shower and I was, like, 'This is actually really good,' and I made a voice memo of me singing “Horchata,” and I listened to it immediately after. And, um, it wasn’t good.
Do you have a karaoke song?
I've never done karaoke but you know what I think it actually is? The song that I want to sing more than any song in the whole world is a song called "Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole" by Martha Wainwright. Maybe it’s the way that she sings it. I think it’s the most beautiful song, she sings it with so much heart.
Back to Lady Bird. What was it like being directed by Greta?
It was most fun I’ve ever had working on a movie because she’s like a child on set with how excitable she was. Anything I brought in she was electrified by it. And that really creates for an environment where you feel good about yourself when you’re working and it just makes you wanna go further and keep risking.
Lady Bird is coming out after you were nominated for an Oscar for Manchester by the Sea. Where were you when you found out you were nominated?
I was in my bed when I found out I got nominated for an Oscar. I put my phone on airplane mode because I was convinced I wouldn’t get nominated. I just thought I’d sleep through it and I woke up at 8 a.m. and a second later I got a call from my publicist and she’s like, 'Guess who got nominated for an Oscar?' And I started screaming and ran downstairs and my dad hopped out of the shower and my mom was watching the announcements. I was running around in my boxers. It was the craziest surge of energy.
And did you have to do a talk show right away and tell them how you felt?
I actually went and did a photo shoot with Gigi Hadid. [Laughs] The first thing Gigi Hadid said to me was like, “I heard you got nominated for an Oscar. That’s sick.” And gave me a high five and it was amazing.
So then you were an Oscar nominee. Were you nervous about going?
I was really excited about going. I was nervous about the fact that my whole family was coming with me: my brother, my mom, and my dad. And my mom was very excited all day long and was moving at a very fast pace. She was very shrill and amazing, too.
Did you have that moment where they’re calling out your name and you...
I knew I wasn’t going to win, but I had a split-second feeling where I was like, Oh, my God, I’m gonna win! As Alicia Vikander was saying “The Oscar goes to...” I think my heart and soul literally came out of my eyes. I was thinking, This is it! She’s going to say my name. And then she said, “Mahershala Ali.” But there was a chance! One in five. Could have been me. The win for me was getting nominated because it’s just, like, a thing, you know. It’s, like, Oscar nominee, so I was excited that I could say that about myself.
And did you go to every party that night?
I did. I went to every party. I went to the Vanity Fair party, the Madonna after party. I actually brought my brother with me to that one.
That’s the party.
Yeah, that was cool. There are no photos allowed at the Madonna after party. Like, you enter and it's this massive greenhouse and there's no photos beyond this point. Sacha Baron Cohen was dancing and Mick Jagger was just floating around. And I was like, 'Man, this is so cool. I’m just gonna take a photo of this. I completely forgot so I took a photo and this bodyguard rushes over to me and I’ve never been so scared in my entire life. I was like, 'I’m so sorry. I’m deleting—look, I’m deleting the photo right now.' He was like, 'Delete those other ones.' And I was like, "Those weren’t even from this party, you can look at them. They're from earlier in the night, I swear. I’m turning my phone off right now. I’m so sorry, like, really sorry.' And then they had eyes on me for the rest of the party, like, everywhere I went. I was so paranoid and scared.
Well, that’s a good way to celebrate after you’ve been nominated for an Oscar. That’s a good Oscar party.
Watch: Greta Gerwig's 30th Birthday Featured Karaoke, Blackouts & Concussions