Danielle Brooks has her eye on the prize, and she isn’t afraid to admit it.
The Color Purple actress spoke with ET’s Denny Directo on Monday during the 2024 Oscars Luncheon at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills — although not in person. Brooks was unable to attend the star-studded gala because of scheduling conflicts, as she’s currently in New Zealand filming the upcoming Minecraft movie.
While she was sad she couldn’t attend, Brooks admitted that those were “champagne problems” and she couldn’t complain too much as so many good things were happening at the same time.
“It is great, you know? But I do wish I could have my cake and eat it too,” Brooks said with a laugh.
Brooks is nominated for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Sofia in The Color Purple, and the 34-year-old actress explained, “This experience could not have been orchestrated any better for my life.”
“This Color Purple has meant so much to me, it has led me to be an actor — taking this seriously when I first saw it at 15 — and it’s really helped me on this journey,” Brooks shared. “So for this whole thing to lead to an Oscar nomination and SAG and BAFTA and Golden Globes and Critics Choice, all of this stuff, I could have never imagined it being mapped out like this.”
The nomination holds an even more significant value for Brooks as her nomination is the only one the film earned at the Oscars, making her hope for a win even greater.
“This, I think, is holding a lot more weight because there’s so many people that are deserving and that I want this for,” Brooks said. “I am super humbled, but there’s so many people that I want this for — especially because The Color Purple has left such a stamp on American cinema that I think it’s deserving of it.”
In The Color Purple — directed by Blitz Bazawule and adapted from the Broadway musical — Brooks stars alongside Fantasia Barrino, Taraji P. Henson, Ciara, Colman Domingo, Halle Bailey, H.E.R., Jon Batiste, Corey Hawkins and Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor.
While the film earned numerous nominations at the BAFTAs, the Critics Choice Awards, the Palm Springs International Film Festival Film Awards and others, it was among numerous films to be notably snubbed at this year’s Oscars.
“We can’t predict what’s going to happen but this would be a huge win, not just for me, but for all of the people involved,” she added.
According to Brooks, her role in the film changed her perspective on things, and now she’s “fighting like Sofia to the end.”
“There’s a fighter in me now. I want it, and I’m not afraid to say that,” she added. “As actors, we have been taught, like, ‘Let’s just be happy to be in the room.’ Which I am, do not get me wrong! I am very happy. But the truth of the matter is, there is a side of all of us that wants to win. I am not afraid to admit that.”
Looking back now at her long career, Brooks reflected on what advice she’d give to a young performer hoping to find success in Hollywood, and it all comes back to putting in the effort.
“Do the work. Stay focused on the work. Let the accolades, all the [other] stuff… that will come. But the only way you’re going to get there is by doing the work,” Brooks shared. “Also, being your authentic self while you do the work. You can’t be nobody else. That’s the best version of you anyway, and can’t nobody do you better than you.”
The 96th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will be handed out live at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California, on March 10 starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC. In the meantime, stay tuned to ETonline.com for complete Oscars coverage.