The 64-year-old was nominated on Tuesday as Best Supporting Actress for her role in Everything Everywhere All at Once and her reaction, captured by a friend as she watched the announcement, perfectly reflected the priceless moment.
“This is what surprise looks like,” Jamie Lee wrote on Instagram with the series of photos showing her shock at the news and then celebrating the moment with an embrace with her husband, Christopher Guest.
Jamie Lee said the photos weren’t planned but “one of my oldest besties,” Oscar-winning director Debbie Oppenheimer, texted her that morning and asked to watch with her.
“I didn’t even realize she took pictures,” said Jamie Lee, noting the series showed her reaction to hearing her name as well as her co-star Stephanie Hsu being nominated in the same category. “No filters. No fakery. Just the truth of a moment of joy captured by a friend.”
In another post, Jamie Lee, best known for the Halloween films as well as Trading Places, True Lies and A Fish Called Wanda, said “it was never even in my wildest dream box” to be nominated for an Oscar.
“I have always felt very much like an outsider looking in and yet always so grateful for any and all opportunities I have had,” wrote the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh. She called it “the highlight of my professional life” and praised the “talented, motley crew of artists” in the adventure/sci-fi film, which received 11 nominations in total.
She continued, “As this is a movie about a family of immigrants and their struggles through life, immediately I’m thinking of my parents, children of immigrants from Hungary and Denmark, whose families came here and sacrificed for their children to achieve their dreams. I can only imagine what it would feel like for them and their parents to hear that their daughter/granddaughter was nominated this morning for an Oscar. (Her late parents, pictured in one photo next to another of the cast, were both Oscar nominees.)
She concluded, “I am stunned and humbled and excited for our little movie that could and did and based on today’s nominations, continues to do and do and do.”
The indie blockbuster film is also nominated for Best Picture, Best Director (Dan Kwan and Daniel Scheinert), Best Actress (Michelle Yeoh) and Best Supporting Actor (Ke Huy Quan).
The Oscars telecast will air live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Sunday, March 12.