Hugh Grant was recently nominated for a Golden Globe and SAG Award for his role as St. Clair Bayfield, devoted partner and protector of Meryl Streep’s title character in Florence Foster Jenkins. Simon Helberg, of The Big Bang Theory fame, showed off his musical talents and also is nominated for a Golden Globe playing Cosme McMoon. But before the nominations began rolling in, both appeared as part of Paramount’s presentation at our big annual awards-season event The Contenders Presented By Deadline last month at the DGA Theatre in front of a packed house of Oscar and key guild voters.

contenders-2

Grant talked about the terrifying prospect of working with Streep, something he had about a year to prepare for, he says. He also explains the origins of the Stephen Frears film, and the real-life characters he and Streep played. Playing a woman who sings badly — but not so badly she couldn’t fill Carnegie Hall — was a challenge not only for Streep, says Helberg, but also for him. As a trained pianist, he actually had to follow her “musicality” note for note, and he tells the crowd just how he did it.

It is not surprising to see both Grant and Helberg (and Streep) reaping rewards of their efforts now.

Check out our conversation above.