Matt Damon took home a Golden Globe on Sunday night for his role in The Martian.
“I’ve made a lot of movies that people just didn’t go see,” Damon said in his acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical. “So to make one that everyone enjoyed this much…”
In total, Damon has been nominated for a Golden Globe six times, winning only once, in 1998 for writing the Good Will Hunting screenplay with Ben Affleck. The Martian is the first time he’s won a Golden Globe for acting. Backstage after his win, Damon addressed his 18-year absence — and lingering questions over whether The Martian is actually a comedy.
“No, it’s a musical,” he said. “And I think that’s what the 18-year gap was, me working on my singing.”
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“It just gives me more of a context, having made so many movies,” he added. “You work equally hard on every movie, and you love them all, yet you can’t do it unless you absolutely love it. It’s just a lot of work and then the result is the result, and you just don’t know what the audience is going to do, and most of the time they don’t show up. Some of the time, some of them show up. But when something like this happens and people really respond to the movie and critics really respond to the movie and there’s that kind of perfect storm reaction, it’s great.”
In addition to Damon’s nomination, The Martian also scored a Best Director nod for Ridley Scott and a nomination for Best Motion Picture for a Comedy or Musical.
While The Martian has a star-studded ensemble cast, including Jessica Chastain, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Damon carries much of the film by himself, and he was often the only actor on set. “It was one of the reasons why I wanted to do it — I had never tried to do anything by myself in that way,” Damon told EW in October. “That was a fun challenge. There were all these monologues where Mark realizes he’s stranded on Mars — like, two-page speeches. We’d do it one take. We could just go. Ridley would come blasting on set and go, ‘Jesus, you and me could do two movies at once!’”
The other nominees for the category were Steve Carell and Christian Bale for The Big Short, Al Pacino for Danny Collins, and Mark Ruffalo for Infinitely Polar Bear.
—Additional reporting by Marc Snetiker.