Taraji P. Henson, who played Benjamin's adoptive mother, Queenie, got a nod for Best Supporting Actress.
Benjamin was portrayed by Brad Pitt, who was nominated in the Best Actor category.
And Henson told co-anchor Julie Chen on The Early Show Friday playing Pitt's adoptive mother isn't "what I imagined I'd be doing when I starred with Brad Pitt. So I know now God has a sense of humor!"
Henson says she was asleep when she got the word she'd been nominated. "I was asleep," she says. "I was comatose. ... I have a great group of friends, and they knew that I was gonna to be angst. And they took me out the night before for a fabulous dinner. And then we went out for music and dancing just so I could have a light night and not think about it. And the tactic worked, because I got home. I was wiped out. And I was knocked out."
Then her manager called at 5:30, "and I knew it had to be good news.'Cause what idiot would call me at 5:30 with bad news?!"
Henson says she hadn't even mulled winning. "I couldn't go there yet. I was still dealing with, 'Wow! A dream has come true!' Because that's every actor's dream. When you say, 'I want to be an actor,' everybody thinks about Old Oscar."
Henson's character "is such a beautiful soul, such a beautiful heart," Chen observed.
"I wish everybody could be like Queenie," Henson replied. "Incredible. I actually pay close attention to my grandmother, my mom, and I have four other aunts. And they're all, you know, we had a get-together. There was a woman there to represent every age. I just sat back and watched. What was so beautiful is that they all embraced age. You know, this film deals a lot with aging. In this industry, it can be really hard on women as we age. I just found that so refreshing. That they showed that it gets better with time."
Queenie ages 50 years in "Button," and Henson says that was "Fun, because I know I'll never look like that at 71. My grandmother's 84 and she looks nothing like that. (She's) beautiful. She barely has wrinkles on her face."
But, said Chen, "Queenie's beauty just jumped off the screen because of her heart. So when you were playing a 71-year-old, I still thought you were beautiful."
"Thank you," Henson said. "Well, beauty comes from the inside out. (Queenie)'s a woman who embodied unconditional love. And what's not beautiful about love?"