Jeffrey Wright says his indie movie, "American Fiction," most definitely has a fighting chance to take home top honors at the Oscars ... but don't go calling this a David vs. Goliath story.
We got the Best Actor nominee Wednesday at LAX, where we asked all about the fact 'AF' was nominated a ton on Tuesday -- racking up 5 Oscar nods on everything from Best Actor to Original Score and, of course, the big prize in Best Picture.
For starters, Jeff told us he hates the fact the Oscars race turns art into a competition, and told us he's just happy to be in the mix of things with all those blockbuster hits that are considered Oscar darlings this year.
Yes, we're talking about "Barbie," "Oppenheimer" and some other big fish in the race -- but from Jeffrey's demeanor here, you'd never guess he's sweating it ... 'cause he ain't!
When we ask him straight up if "American Fiction" has a realistic path toward victory in any of its categories ... he puts it back on our camera guy, who Jeffrey says inadvertently answered the question himself.
Bottom line, the movie is absolutely amazing and even though it's "small" ... it's still mighty.