Colman Domingo Says ‘Extraordinary’ Oscar Nomination Follows 33 Years of Putting in Work

Colman Domingo attends the opening night screening of "Rustin" at the HBCU First Look Film Festival in Washington, D.C. on Nov. 10, 2023. (Credit: Netflix)

For Colman Domingo, the past year has brought life-changing recognition after three decades of “hard work” and “hard knocks.”

Domingo, 54, received his first Oscar nomination Tuesday morning — best actor — for his role as Civil Rights pioneer Bayard Rustin in the Netflix biopic, Rustin. Domingo also co-stars in The Color Purple as Celie’s abusive husband Mister.

In an interview Tuesday with Extra, the actor said he’s always looked for roles that were “purposeful.”

“I was going so long in my career that I didn’t even realize I was never the lead of a film before,” he explained. “I was just doing work that I thought was purposeful, and where I was needed, and what was useful. Then suddenly, I’m leading these two incredible films as a leading man. It’s been a lot of hard work. It’s been some hard knocks.”

Related StoryOscar Nominations 2024 – Full List of Nominees From ‘American Fiction’ to ‘Rustin’

Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin in the Netflix film Rustin. (Credit: Netflix)
Colman Domingo as Bayard Rustin. (Credit: Netflix)

The Euphoria and Fear the Walking Dead actor added that it was never about the accolades, he just wanted to be a performer.

“I consider myself a journeyman. I’ve been doing this for 33 years — on off-Broadway, regional theater, writing, directing, producing, bartending, working, not working,” he said.

Domingo, who is openly gay, said he’s “honored” his Oscar nomination is for portraying a gay man in Rustin, who fought for Black people by planning the 1963 March on Washington.

“It’s extraordinary because I represent so many groups. I not only represent Black folks, I represent people who were raised in the public school system, people from west Philly. My father is Afro-Latino, so I represent Afro-Latinos, I represent queer folks.”

Adding to his recent blessings, the actor and his husband, Raúl Domingo, closed a massive movie deal just 24 hours before the Oscar nominations were announced.

“Me and my husband have a production company and yesterday we sold a film at Sundance for $17 million!” he said. “I thought, ‘Wow, we’re doing good.’ Now this, the day after, oh my God!”

The two produced the horror movie It’s What’s Inside, which premiered at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival and was purchased by Netflix.

As for his plans for the future, Domingo said he’s lining up something “fly” to wear to the Oscars.

Watch the interview with Colman Domingo below: