J.K. Simmons has found his tempo. The veteran performer won the Academy Award for supporting actor Sunday with his portrayal of a domineering music teacher in the taut jazz drama "Whiplash."
Accepting his first Oscar (on his first nomination), Simmons thanked his wife and their "above-average children," repeating a common refrain of his this awards season.
Simmons also had some advice for viewers: "Call your mom," he said. "Everybody — I'm told it's like a billion people or so — call your mom, call your dad. If you're lucky enough to have a parent or two alive on this planet, call them. Don't text, don't email — call them on the phone and tell them you love them, and thank them, and listen to them for as long as they want to talk to you."
FULL COVERAGE: Oscars 2015
Simmons' win completed his veritable awards season sweep: He also claimed the equivalent from the Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globes, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, and Film Independent Spirit awards. He also was honored by a slew of critics groups for his charismatic turn opposite Miles Teller.
As teacher Terence Fletcher, Simmons beat out Robert Duvall as an ornery jurist accused of murder in "The Judge," Ethan Hawke as a likable but flaky divorced dad in "Boyhood," Edward Norton as an egotistical method actor in "Birdman" and Mark Ruffalo as the ill-fated Olympic wrestler Dave Schultz in "Foxcatcher."
A consummate character actor, Simmons, 60, has starred in dozens of movies ("Juno," the "Spider-Man" trilogy) and TV series ("Oz," "Law & Order") during his long career.
Writer-director Damien Chazelle's "Whiplash" emerged as a breakout hit at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2014. Speaking to The Times this month, Simmons recalled reading Chazelle's script for the first time.
"From that first page I felt in my being something extraordinary," he said. "I get tingles talking about it. It was — is — so amazing on paper. It just leaps off the page."