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Why Charlize Theron Is Intimidated by Awards Shows

After years in the industry, she’s still not comfortable on a red carpet

Getty Images/Ringer illustration
Getty Images/Ringer illustration

Charlize Theron has won an Oscar and been nominated for an Emmy, but she’s never enjoyed awards shows. In fact, they’re not fun for her at all. How could that be? She explained on the latest episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast.

Seriously? The lights? The stars? The shows aren’t fun at all?

"I wouldn’t use the word fun," Theron says of the shows.

Were they ever fun?

"No. It’s always been super intimidating. … Like really, really intimidating. The first time I went [to one], I was just starstruck. I have always suffered from this [idea that] I got invited [but] I’m not really invited. Like I always think a mistake was made and I’m not supposed to be there."

But Theron won an Oscar back in 2004, and was nominated again in 2006. Surely, at this point, she’s grown comfortable with the shows.

"Yeah, I got nominated like a year or two years after [the win] and I was like, ‘This has got to be a mistake.’ Whenever I’m in those rooms, I feel like I don’t have the funniest joke."

Maybe there’s something else that drives her concern.

"Here’s my problem: I do like to have a cocktail, and then I say very inappropriate things, and I don’t mean to say inappropriate things. … I always kind of go home, and I go, ‘God, did I really say that to Glenn Close?’"

OK, that part is fun.

"I find myself at dinner tables with really, really good friends who’ve been around in my life for 20 years and we always laugh about those things. One of them always will be like, ‘I can’t believe you said that.’"

But red carpets? No fun.

"There’s nothing normal or natural about [red carpets] for me. To have that much attention and cameras kind of, it’s just weird. It’s weird. And I break out in hives, and I get all red and blotchy."

The social demands, the interviews, and everything else? That’s work to Theron. Luckily, her real job doesn’t feel like that.

"I don’t ever call making films work because I love it. I do believe that there is some real value in finding something. It’s one of the greatest gifts that I think you can have in your life, to do something that doesn’t feel like work. And I feel like my job is that. But that [awards show] stuff to me feels like work."

Listen to the full podcast here. This transcript has been edited and condensed.