news Paul Mescal: ‘Aftersun’ Was Never Going to Be ‘Ingrained in the Campaigning World’ for Oscars

Paul Mescal is proud of how “Aftersun” has refused to set.

The Best Actor first-time Oscar nominee looked back on the independent film, marking writer-director Charlotte Wells’ feature debut and co-star Frankie Corio’s breakout role. While “Aftersun” topped critics’ list for being the best film of 2022, its sole Oscar nomination was for Mescal.

“Look, ‘Aftersun’ was never going to be a film that was ingrained in the campaigning world,” Mescal told Vanity Fair. “We did our promotions on the festival circuits, and then there was just nothing you could read; I did lots of Zooms and stuff while I was doing the play [‘Streetcar Named Desire’], but I don’t know. There’s something that I would describe as very elegant about how ‘Aftersun’ has just hung around.”

Mescal called “Aftersun” the type of film that breaks through every year.

“You try and measure it all versus say, well, how ‘The Worst Person in the World’ did the year before, or something like that,” Mescal said. “To be part of one of the films this year that operated in the space — the films that I’m most excited to see every year — was really satisfying. Weirdly those are the things that I’ve always dreamt about. To A, have something that gets into these things, but B, to get in across the board and for it to be with somebody like Charlotte [for her] first film, it’s just like — yeah.”

Mescal continued, “Honestly I couldn’t be prouder of films that I’ve made to date — and I feel nervous because I want these lives for the films. So I enter the next steps with anxiety. I know I’ve got a taste of what it is to go off and work with an auteur, make it, and feel pride for the shooting process. But then you kind of want to nurse it through its commercial life.”

The “Gladiator 2” star previously told IndieWire that he reveled in the surprise Cannes premiere for “Aftersun.”

“We got to make it and nobody knew of it,” Mescal said. “I don’t think that happens a lot anymore. I love a blockbuster as much as the next person, but my only point is that we have to be careful about just leaving a bit more space for films like ‘Aftersun’ to break out, films like ‘Close’ to break out. I really don’t think I’m snobby about it. It’s actually to do with just being worried that that space [for independent film] is being encroached upon. And if we don’t keep the ecosystem balanced, we’re just gonna have one kind of film.”