ST. LOUIS -- It's hard to overlook John Goodman, a big man with a booming voice who has been a movie and television star for three decades. Yet he has been quietly having a great year.
Last winter, Goodman co-starred in two films that were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture: Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and the eventual winner, The Artist. This year he is in another potential award contender, Ben Affleck's hostage thriller Argo. His Trouble With the Curve and ParaNorman are still in theaters. And in November, Goodman co-stars with Denzel Washington in Flight, a plane-crash drama from director Robert Zemeckis that is already generating buzz.
In a recent phone interview, the St. Louis native said he takes the ups and downs of the business in stride. "It's flattering when people like what you do," he said, "but I don't like talking about the Oscars. I'm a member of the academy and I vote, but now the red-carpet stuff is like the tail wagging the dog. It's all about who's wearing what."
Goodman, 60, has made at least four films about the movie industry itself, including the silent The Artist, the horror spoof Matinee and the studio-era psychodrama Barton Fink. In Argo, based on a true story, he is a makeup artist on a make-believe movie project that the CIA uses as a ruse to free hostages from Iran.
Goodman, who has made about 70 movies, said he was impressed with Affleck's growth as a filmmaker. "Movies are in his blood," Goodman said. "Apparently, when he was a kid, his family would take him to a theater to see the latest film, and he'd come out saying what he would have done different."
Goodman played an escaped convict in his breakthrough film, the Coen brothers' Raising Arizona. It was the beginning of a fruitful relationship, as he has been in four other Coen releases: Barton Fink; The Hudsucker Proxy; O Brother, Where Art Thou?; and the much-beloved The Big Lebowski.
Notwithstanding his movie success, Goodman is best known for his role as Dan Conner in the working-class sitcom Roseanne, which ran 1988-1997. He has returned to TV periodically, including recurring roles on The West Wing and Treme. The latter series was shot in Goodman's adopted home of New Orleans, where he has lived for about 15 years, and he welcomed the opportunity to sleep in his own bed every night.