(CNN)A force of stage and screen for more than two decades, Billy Crudup has roles in two Oscar hopefuls this year -- "Jackie" and "20th Century Women," just one year after appearing in Best Picture winner "Spotlight." Just another awards season in the life of a "creator."
Billy Crudup's bleep-worthy favorite role
Where it started:
Crudup was bit by the acting bug while attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, when the former class clown put the energy once spent on making people laugh into performance classes. "I didn't know anybody who was an actor, so I was dubious about becoming an actor," he remembered. "I went to graduate school to get my Masters so that I could teach. As soon as I was in the school for the first day...it was clear that I didn't want to teach, I wanted to perform. But what I really needed was to be around serious-minded people who were considering this as a serious occupation, and one worthy of your time and attention and discipline, and not something to try to do just for s---s and giggles."
An easy 'yes':
"Natalie [Portman] is somebody that I've known since I started acting. She started so young. In 'The Professional,' I want to say she was 12 or something. A number of years after that, she and I did a workshop of a movie that I think Jim Brooks was gonna direct. It took a couple of days, and we got to know each other pretty well, and I'd always wanted to work with her. She's been doing such spectacular work for so long that it was a really easy thing for me to say yes to."