VIDEO: Jennifer Jason Leigh Reveals She Almost Gave Up Acting Before 'Everything Changed' This Past Year

updated 02/26/2016 AT 11:00 AM EST

originally published 02/18/2016 AT 12:30 PM EST

Jennifer Jason Leigh starred in two Oscar-nominated films this past year that, she says, "changed my life."

Before The Hateful Eight and Anomalisa came around, this year's Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee considered giving up acting.

Leigh, 54, took a prolonged break from work after giving birth to son Rohmer, 5, and found it difficult to return. She considered calling it a day because she "had a very lucky, great run" of making movies she loved.

But, "then this year happened and everything changed," she tells PEOPLE in an exclusive video.



VIDEO: Jennifer Jason Leigh Reveals She Almost Gave Up Acting Before 'Everything Changed' This Past Year| Academy Awards, Oscars 2016, Movie News, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Quentin Tarantino

Jennifer Jason Leigh

Marc Hom


"[Both movies] reminded me I really love acting. I love it! It's so gratifying. It brought that back to me, and it was something that I had forgotten about," she continues.


Her performance as the murderous fugitive Daisy Domergue in Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight gave Leigh her very first Oscar nod, while the stop-motion movie Anomalisa is up for Best Animated Feature.



Although she's proud of her career, the star also says she hopes she has a lasting impact in another way: "I would like to be remembered for my kindness."

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