OnlyOnAOL: Matt Damon's fearless Oscar prediction

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BY DONNA FREYDKIN

His film, "The Martian," has to date brought home $225.9 million domestically. Nice work, for a film about an astronaut stranded on the red planet. And it's got Matt Damon's name being bandied about as an Oscar front-runner.

But ask Damon about the whole horse race, which has prognosticators who border on the obsessive, and he has two words for you: Ridley Scott.

The director of "The Martian" has released a slew of iconic films -- "Gladiator," "Thelma and Louise" and "Alien" -- but hasn't yet taken home a best director statuette. Damon is crossing his fingers that on Feb. 28, that will change.

"The assumption was that he had one because of 'Gladiator' winning best picture. It diminishes the award that he doesn't have one. The Oscars don't always get it right. Kubrick didn't have one. But this is Ridley's year," says Damon.

The actor, who's shooting the next installment of the Jason Bourne franchise, took a one-day break from filming to gladhand in Manhattan and promote "The Martian." Given that he won an Oscar as a fresh-faced newbie for writing 1997's "Good Will Hunting," surely he's a pro at this stuff? Not quite.

"It's all so different now than it was 18 years ago. There was none of this stuff. It seems much more like a political campaign now. It's a little unseemly. Someone described it to me as, people get crazy eyes. It's just that thing, like 'Lord of the Rings,' people get a little precious. Awards do that to people," says Damon.

Which is why, he laughs, "I was lucky that I got the monkey off my back so young."

And he's the one most surprised that his movie became one of 2015's biggest blockbusters. The father of four never saw it coming.

"No way. No way. That's why there's no pressure. This has done so much for us already. I don't think I've ever had a movie this successful. You want every movie to find an audience. We've made enough that didn't work that we're smelling the roses," he says.

So Mr. Damon, do you have your awards season ensembles picked out yet?

"A tuxedo. If I get nominated! If I don't get nominated, I'll be in my PJs."

12 PHOTOS
Matt Damon through the years
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OnlyOnAOL: Matt Damon's fearless Oscar prediction
Brendan Fraiser, Matt Damon, Randel Batinkoff and Guest at the Academy Theater in Beverly Hills, California (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Matt Damon (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
Matt Damon (Photo by Jim Smeal/WireImage)
Matt Damon at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO -- Episode 1274 -- Pictured: (l-r) Actor Matt Damon during an interview with host Jay Leno on December 1, 1997 -- (Photo by: Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Matt Damon during 55th Annual Golden Globe Awards at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. (Photo by SGranitz/WireImage)
BOSTON, : Oscar winning actor Matt Damon from Cambridge, Massachusetts, signs autographs prior to the Home-Run Derby during the 70th Baseball All-Star Week12 July, 1999, at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. The All-Star will be played 13 July between the American and National Leagues. (ELECTRONIC IMAGE) AFP PHOTO/Stephen JAFFE (Photo credit should read STEPHEN JAFFE/AFP/Getty Images)
368219 04: Actor Matt Damon stars as Rannulph Junuh in Robert Redford's The Legend of Bagger Vance, to be distributed domestically by DreamWorks. (Photo by David James/Newsmakers)
385569 20: (NO WHO WEEKLY) FILE PHOTO: Actor Matt Damon attends the world premiere of his new film 'All The Pretty Horses' December 10, 2000 at the Beekman Theater in New York City. A Rhodesian Ridgeback dog who resembles actor Matt Damon 'especially in the eyes' says his owner, participated in an audition for pets that look like celebrities February 15, 2001 at Universal Studios in Burbank, CA. The dog was one of several dozens pets competing for a video spot on 'Animal Planet Live', a new attraction at Universal Studios. (Photo by Robin Platzer/Liaison)
PRAGUE, CZECH REPUBLIC - JANUARY 12: (Publicist approval required for ALL usages) Actor Matt Damon on the set during filming of 'The Bourne Identity' on January 12, 2001 in Prague, Czech Republic. (Photo by Daniel Smith/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 24: Matt Damon attends the European premiere of 'The Martian' at Odeon Leicester Square on September 24, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)
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