"We really didn't expect to get any nominations. It's a film about a romance that celebrates innocence, really, and they are not films that get pushed for awards. So it's amazing. It really is."
-- Keira Knightley, nominated for best actress for "Pride & Prejudice"
"He allows you to be anything and everything and the best possible version of yourself, because he gives you nothing but time and nothing but patience to express yourself. He is very quiet and very careful, and he never interjects himself."
-- Michelle Williams, nominated for best supporting actress for "Brokeback Mountain," on working for director Ang Lee
"After I got the part, I called up [director] Duncan [Tucker] and said, 'Thank you so much. My God, I'm so honored, but I don't think you should cast me. ... You should cast a man. Everyone knows what's under my skirt....' And he said the movie is not about what is under your skirt, the movie is about what's in your heart."
-- Felicity Huffman, nominated for best actress for "Transamerica"
"I was out for two weeks [after a heart attack during the shoot].... My doctor didn't want me to go back to work because of too much stress, but I would be much more stressed watching another director finish my film."
-- Paul Haggis, nominated for best director, best picture and best original screenplay for "Crash"
"I think the film comments on some really grand cultural themes, which I think is why people are going [to see it]. The power of celebrity, and how he used that, and the idea of how people compromise themselves -- all of those things are very delicate and very personal and some of them very broad."
-- Philip Seymour Hoffman, nominated for best actor for "Capote"
"I could have cast someone who plays Mafia characters a lot, and you would have gotten a much more straightforward reading of that role. But I really wanted someone who could bring an amazing take to it. We spent a lot of time on the Philly accent and the understanding of who this guy was."
-- David Cronenberg, director of "A History of Violence," on best supporting actor nominee William Hurt
Susan King's Contender Q&A column appears every Thursday at TheEnvelope.com.