Just a Minute With: Oscar nominee Kate Winslet

Thu Feb 19, 2009 12:18pm EST
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By Michael Davidson

BERLIN (Reuters) - Kate Winslet, who has won wide acclaim in recent months for her performances in "Revolutionary Road" and "The Reader," has already picked up two Golden Globes and a BAFTA award to adorn her mantelpiece.

The big one, though, is the Academy Award, and on February 22, the 33-year-old will find out if the best actress Oscar for her role in "The Reader" is hers.

Winslet was at the Berlin film festival earlier this month to discuss "The Reader," based on Bernhard Schlink's novel about a teenage boy who has an affair with the much older Hanna Schmitz (Winslet). Years later, Schmitz is put on trial for her secret past as a Nazi prison guard, and the boy, now a law school student, is forced to confront his past.

Q. It is awards season and you have been in the thick of it so far. How has that been and how do you prepare?

A. "You can't prepare yourself. I mean, there is no textbook. I sort of wish there were some kind of lessons in how you deal with this kind of thing ... You know, I think I am kind of useless, in fact, at awards season and I have discovered one thing about myself that I didn't know before, which is that I am too emotional to loose and clearly I am too emotional to win as well, which is a big new discovery.

"But it does mean a great deal, when they open that envelope and they say, 'And the award goes to Kate Winslet.' Suddenly you think, 'that is me, the kid from Reading, who suddenly ended up in this room with all these fine people. What the hell is going on?' It is very, very out-of-body and nothing can prepare you for it at all, and quite honestly my motto at the moment is, I am just really, really happy because I genuinely am and I am just going to enjoy it because these moments, these are very rare moments for anyone to enjoy, and I am going to make the most of it."

Q. How did you get ready for the role of Hanna Schmitz?

A. "It was very, very complicated for me playing Hanna for very many reasons, not only because I was playing a German and I knew I had to get that accent absolutely down, that had to be perfect, and I knew that I had to physically change myself quite considerably ... throughout the film.   Continued...

<p>British actress Kate Winslett arrives for the 2009 BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards ceremony at the Royal Opera House, in London February 8, 2009. REUTERS/Stephen Hird</p>