LOS ANGELES -- Willem Dafoe heads into Oscar Sunday knowing how it all works.
His Best Actor nomination is for playing artist Vincent van Gogh in "At Eternity's Gate." It's his fourth in a career spanning some 40 years.
The film was co-written and directed by Julian Schnabel, a painter himself.
"It's a movie made by a painter about a painter and it really is about making things, about being an artist, artists' relationship to society," said Dafoe. "But it's really for everyone because it also deals with ways of seeing - new ways of seeing."
Dafoe's "art" has taken him to the Oscars as a nominee three times before: first, for 1987's "Platoon"; then 14 years later for "Shadow Of The Vampire"; and again last year for "The Florida Project."
"There's an ebb and flow to everything," said Dafoe. "Now's a good time and things are busy and I'm happy and I'm finding really interesting things to do and a range of things to do so I'm very lucky right now. But it's not always like that."
But when it is, it sure feels fantastic!
"This is not my life day-to-day. So when it happens, it's very special," said Dafoe. "And it helps with my daily life because I like to work and I like to make movies. So when a movie gets recognized, I don't want to say it's party time but it's a very positive thing. I'm not getting ahead of myself. I'm working right now. I'm happy to be here. I'll show up and I'll enjoy what there is to enjoy."