Oscar winner and nine-time nominee Al Pacino is a veteran when it comes to the biggest night of the year in Hollywood – but he has admitted to Sky News that “you never quite learn how to handle it”.
The 79-year-old star says being up for a prized statuette is a “great perk” of the job, but says the ceremony can get “a little stressful”.
Fame has also changed, he says, since he was first on the Oscars radar almost 50 years ago – for arguably his most iconic role, as Michael Corleone in The Godfather, in 1973.
This time round, Pacino is nominated for the best supporting actor prize for his portrayal of labour union leader Jimmy Hoffa in Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic The Irishman.
He is up against his co-star Joe Pesci, who came out of film retirement to play mob boss Russell Bufalino. It is not the first time the two Hollywood heavyweights have been up for the same award, with both nominated for best supporting actor in 1991; Pacino for Dick Tracy, Pesci for Goodfellas.
Pesci took that round, and Pacino went on to win the big prize for best actor two years later, for his performance as blind alcoholic Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade in Scent Of A Woman.
This year, Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood star Brad Pitt is the odds-on favourite to win the supporting actor gong, but Pacino is taking it all in his stride.
Speaking about the awards while promoting his new Amazon Prime TV series Hunters, Pacino said he would be taking his three grown-up children to the ceremony later this evening.
“Well, I think they’re fun for people that watch… but being part of it is a little stressful,” he told Sky News. “But at the same time, it’s a great perk for you if you have an Oscar nomination and it makes you feel…”
He tails off, before adding: “You never quite learn how to handle it though.
“When I was younger, it was a different thing for me than it is now. Now I try to… I try to just look at it for what it is, you know, and I admire it, and the whole fact that I’m involved…
“I’m very happy, I’m going to bring my three kids to the Oscars, they’re coming with me.
“It’s a good thing for kids too, you know, it’s fun. It’s fun for everybody.”
The Irishman, an adaptation of the non-fiction book I Heard You Paint Houses, also reunites Pacino with Robert De Niro.
An epic saga of organised crime in post-war America, it is told through the eyes of De Niro’s character, Second World War veteran Frank Sheeran, a hitman who worked alongside some of the most notorious figures of the 20th century.
Spanning several decades – and with digital de-ageing technology, or “youthification”, used to capture its stars during different periods of their lives – it offers an account of the story behind Hoffa’s unsolved murder.
It is up for 10 awards at the Oscars, including best picture and best director for Scorsese, as well as the supporting actor nods, although De Niro is a notable omission from the best actor shortlist.
Pacino says the Academy Awards now are a little different to those he first attended, describing them now as “almost like a Super Bowl”.
“I remember when I was younger and looking at it, it was so exciting to see the people in that world,” he says. “It’s changed a little bit in the sense that our world is different now.
“And fame is different… but it still has that tradition.”
Sky Cinema’s live and exclusive coverage of the 92nd Annual Academy Awards starts on Sunday night at 12.30am. Want to see the red carpet too? Catch a simulcast of E!’s preview show E! Live From The Red Carpet at 10pm, all on Sky Cinema Oscars
In Hunters, Al Pacino’s new Amazon Prime Video series, he stars as one of a band of Nazi hunters on a quest for justice in New York City in 1977. The series launches on 21 February – read our full interview with the star and other cast members later this month