Oscars 2015: J.K. Simmons expounds on lean times and success

Oscars 2015: J.K. Simmons expounds on lean times and success
J.K. Simmons accepts the supporting actor Oscar on Sunday. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

In his Oscar-winning moment, J.K. Simmons chose to thank not his colleagues and professional team but his family — and urged others to reach out to their moms and dads, and to listen to them. He was greeted with a big wave of applause.

"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 "Whiplash," and his career, during his award season sweep in the supporting actor category, and he's done that time and again. So why not use the big stage for something different.

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."

Twitter: @thecdz