Will Kate Winslet be lucky at Oscars?

February 14th, 2009 - 9:22 am ICT by IANS  

Kate Winslet has the slightly dubious honour of having appeared nude the most for a mainstream actress in non-porn roles. But she has another more worthy honour - the youngest actress to have received six Oscar nominations.

In 2008, it was clear that Winslet had the most stellar year for any actress, with her highly acclaimed roles in “The Revolutinary Road” and “The Reader”. There is no doubt that she is one of the best young actresses around.

She got her first major role in “Heavenly Creatures” (1994) directed by the now very famous Peter Jackson. She broke into the mainstream with her Oscar nominated performance in “Sense And Sensibility” released in 1995 where she held her ground opposite such stalwart actors as Emma Thompson and Alan Rickman. She displayed an energy, intensity and boldness that even today characterise most of her roles.

But it was the mega hit “Titanic” in 1997 that catapulted her into super stardom. The movie went on to become a monstrous success. And though the fan frenzy surrounding her co-star Leonardo Dicaprio was much more, young girls admired her for looking healthy and slightly plump in her nude scenes.

Winselt is one of the few actresses to be vehemently critical of Hollywood’s obsession with thin actresses. She had been a plump child but as an adult has become extremely comfortable and even boisterous about her not-so-thin frame. The car company Jaguar had even claimed that they had designed a vehicle inspired by Winslet.

Speaking on a TV show she revealed that Jaguar’s XK “was inspired by the shape of my body, which is kind of flattering”.

Then there is the much publicised slamming she gave to the magazine GQ in 2003 for retouching a photo of hers to make her look thinner. Young girls and older women alike idolise her for daring to appear nude onscreen with a body that would not be considered the most ideal for Hollywood.

Winslet has also caused controversy for appearing nude in almost all her films.

“Everyone always asks me about nudity because I guess I’ve taken my clothes off in almost every movie I’ve done. But in each case, the nudity has been there for a reason. Frankly, I hate every second. But I can’t stand seeing a film and thinking, why is that woman having sex in all her clothes? She should be naked,” she was quoted as saying.

In 2000, many eyebrows were raised when she appeared in “Quills” where in one scene a priest has sex with her corpse. She took this in her stride and said: “I mean, sex with a corpse - that’s a bit much. And then you add in that it’s a priest having sex with a corpse in a church. You couldn’t get more controversial if you tried. Lying on a slab with no clothes on was hard, but the scene was not gratuitous.”

The actress could have easily cashed in on the fame generated by “Titanic”. Instead she opted to star in very small independent movies making very little money. She has appeared in below the radar movies like “Hideous Kinky”, “Holy Smoke” and “Romance And Cigarettes”.

But she has also impressed in big movies like “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”, “All The King’s Men” and this past year - “Revolutionary Road” and “The Reader”.

On Feb 22 she just might win her first Oscar for her role in “The Reader”. Even if she doesn’t, there is no doubt that Winslet will star in gritty, demanding roles and impress anyone who takes cinema seriously.

(Sevanand Gaddala can be contacted at sevanand@gmail.com)

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