In his Oscar-winning moment,
"I got out most of what I wanted to say," he told reporters backstage. "I was somewhat taken aback by the response I got from people I don't know. Honestly."
Simmons had a host of opportunities to thank everyone involved in
FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2015
"More people saw me tonight" than in the rest of his long career as a working actor, he noted, before sharing that he "almost got back on the bus a handful of times" along the way.
"If I'd had any really reasonable options in terms of employment, I probably would have."
This run of success is definitely more tiring than the lean times, he said. "In lean times you get plenty of sleep and you're not flying around everywhere.
"For me, the lean times were a wonderful, beautiful time of my life, struggling for many years in regional theater all over the country for not much money."
He didn't have that family to take care of at the time, however.
Still, "I look back on those times with great fondness."
As for the success of "Whiplash," which he noted means "more opportunities" for him, he put it squarely on its writer-director.
"The movie hit people because Damien Chazelle had a life experience that he wanted to expound on ... and he's a brilliant, creative artist and wrote characters that Miles [Teller] and I and Paul [Reiser] and Melissa [Benoist] and 42 actors were able to lift off the page clearly and simply."