You were surely aware of people’s reaction to your time in the spotlight during Oscar season when you won for Les Misérables. How do you look back on that?
"I felt very uncomfortable. I kind of lost my mind doing that movie and it hadn’t come back yet. Then I had to stand up in front of people and feel something I don’t feel which is uncomplicated happiness. It’s an obvious thing, you win an Oscar and you’re supposed to be happy. I didn’t feel that way. I felt wrong that I was standing there in a gown that cost more than some people are going to see in their lifetime, and winning an award for portraying pain that still felt very much a part of our collective experience as human beings. I tried to pretend that I was happy and I got called out on it, big time. That’s the truth and that’s what happened. It sucks. But what you learn from it is that you only feel like you can die from embarrassment, you don’t actually die."
Did you ever have a plan B if this all didn’t work out?
"I think I would probably have four unturned chairs on The Voice. No, I think I would be a professional drunk. Or I would be a really inspiring community leader. One or the other."
Your weird new monster film, Colossal, sees you playing another drunk drifter. You got an Oscar nomination for a similar character in Rachel Getting Married. What is it about them that appeals?
"I have met a lot of addicts in my life who I have a lot of tender affection for. I love when stories present the opportunity to take groups that have been stigmatised or judged and then show the human side. I always look at them and think, “That’s me in there,” on some level."
Some reviews have picked up on this theme of toxic masculinity, something that seems to be on the increase since Ghostbusters. What do you think the film has to add to the debate?
"I’m glad that you used the word “toxic”, because it’s very important to say that it’s very different from male energy. Male energy is beautiful. Male energy is welcome. Male energy is necessary. Male energy is half the reason why we’re here. That said, there has been a perversion of the beauty of male energy into this macho ideal that I don’t think services anybody. In the case of Ghostbusters, the thing that made me so sad about that experience was that people seemed to be blaming the girls for the men who chose to hit the film that they were in, and I didn’t think that was cool. In terms of my new movie, what our director was saying was that he thinks this energy really has no place in our world any more."