‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ stars react to a movie that isn’t even out yet landing a Golden Globe nod for Best Picture

kiri avatar the way of water
Image via 20th Century Fox

Avatar: The Way of Water had big shoes to fill as the follow-up to 2009’s record-breaking film, but three days ahead of its global premiere, the hype is through the roof following a Golden Globe nomination for Best Motion Picture — Drama. Sam Worthington, aka Jake Sully, and Zoë Saldaña, aka Neytiri, are elated.

“It’s a great testament to everyone’s hard work and all the creative endeavors,” Worthington told ET during Monday’s Los Angeles premiere of The Way of Water. The actor minimized his work on the sequel, calling himself “a very small cog” among thousands of people involved.

Director James Cameron, who is perhaps the biggest cog of all, also earned a nomination for Best Director, which is already a good omen for the Academy Awards coming in March.

“[James Cameron] put a lot of thought and work and love into this — and a lot of time, spent away from his life and those that are closest to him in this world,” Saldaña said.

The actress believes this nomination is proof that “anything done with love can be recognized by many,” and added that she’s “very happy.”

Worthington also commented on the time invested by everyone into the film, and how any nod and award comes as a recognition of that sacrifice.

The actors reprise their roles from the original film, and will be joined this time around by their offspring, three biological children in Neteyam, Lo’ak, and Tuktirey, and two adopted children in Miles “Spider” Socorro, and Kiri, played by fellow returnee Sigourney Weaver.

The 80th Golden Globes will air on NBC on Jan. 10. Fans will get to join the select few who have watched the film when Avatar: The Way of Water arrives in theaters Dec. 16.