Kate Winslet wins best actress Oscar for "The Reader"

Mon Feb 23, 2009 11:30am EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Kate Winslet won her first Oscar on Sunday for her portrayal of a German woman with a secret Nazi past in the romantic drama "The Reader."

"Titanic" star Winslet, 33, was Oscar-nominated five times in the past 13 years but had always returned home empty-handed.

Her best actress Oscar joins two Golden Globes, a Screen Actors Guild award, a British BAFTA and a handful of U.S. critics awards that Winslet has won this season.

"To the academy, thank you so much," she said. Winslet gave credit to her fellow best actress nominees -- Meryl Streep, Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie and Melissa Leo -- calling them "goddesses."

"I think we all can't believe we are in the category with Meryl Streep at all," Winslet said.

In addition to Winslet's acclaimed turn in "The Reader," she won plaudits this awards season for her performance as a disillusioned housewife in "Revolutionary Road." The two films were released only weeks apart.

Winslet told the Academy Award audience she would be lying if she said she hadn't practiced an Oscar acceptance speech before.

"I think I was probably 8 years old and staring into the bathroom mirror, and this would have been a shampoo bottle," she said gesturing to her golden statuette. "Well, it's not a shampoo bottle now!"   Continued...

<p>Actress Kate Winslet holds her Oscar for best actress for her work in "The Reader," as she poses during her arrival at the 2009 Vanity Fair Oscar Party in West Hollywood, California February 22, 2009. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok</p>