But O'Toole has never won an Oscar, although he did receive the lifetime achievement award. With "Venus," he said he simply stumbled upon a good part.
"And here we are — we would have been a movie about a — a dirty old man and a — a slut of a young woman," he told The Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith. "And it's an examination, indeed, of those two platitudes."
"Now, when you were reading the part, and you could see that was a lecherous old man, did you think, 'Now, this is going to be a stretch for me'?" Smith asked O'Toole.
"Oh, dear. Oh, dear. Not exactly," O'Toole said.
In "Venus," he plays Maurice, an actor in the twilight of his career, who becomes infatuated with a women a third his age. As he tries to seduce her, they begin a surprising relationship in which each learns more about themselves than either had expected. The film also marks O'Toole's first collaboration with another screen legend, Vanessa Redgrave, who plays his estranged wife.
"I've known Vanessa since 1955," he said. "I worked with her father, Sir Michael. He was Claudius when I was Hamlet. I worked with her mother. I've worked with her brother. I've worked with her two children. I've worked with her niece. And I'd never worked with Vanessa. And we've known each other. And we've argued politics, and god knows what else for donkey years. And we get on very well."
Despite his storied career, which stretches past the epic film "Lawrence of Arabia," for which he received his first Oscar nomination 44 years ago, O'Toole, 74, said he was astonished by all the adulation he has received for "Venus."
"I don't know whether it's perverse of me or not … but I don't want to be an honorary any damn thing. Give me something specific to do. Give me a job of work. Let me do that; and if somebody wants to give me a reward for that, cool." He said.
Despite all the disappointments, O'Toole said he never feels bitter about not having won, but he would have "very much liked to win one" for his role in "The Lion in Winter," which he called a rare film. He starred with Katherine Hepburn, his "beautiful, beloved Kate."
"I hear the results, and I think, 'Oh, Christ, I've done it again. I'm out. Another loser,' " he said. "The only time I was ever favorite was for 'The Lion in Winter' … We had such a marvelous time. And I was — and I knew Kate was just — she was sizzling. And the film was excellent. And, yes, that would have been awfully nice to win for that. But I didn't. So, next."
The live announcement of the nominations for the 79th Annual Academy Awards will be shown Tuesday morning on The Early Show.