During this year’s awards season, with each award bestowed upon Kate Winslet, observers were less than impressed at time with what they considered her blubbering, drama-fraught acceptance speeches. They were primarily reflecting on the Golden Globes and the Oscars. When I watched the speeches back, I see something very different. I felt what the audience saw on stage was a cathartic release of sorts. After years of being risky and taking less than conventional roles, she was finally rewarded for her efforts. Yes, she has won awards and plaudits throughout her career but let’s face it, after being the perpetual bridesmaid, one must hope to receive the brass ring someday.
My appreciation for her body of work precedes Titanic. Her performances in 1994’s Heavenly Creatures (directed by a pre-LOTR Peter Jackson) and 1995’s Sense and Sensibility left me in amazement of what that a person not much older than me (less than a year separate us) could accomplish.
After the out of this world success of Titanic, she could have easily gone Hollywood and become America’s English Sweetheart. Instead, she chose a series of atypical, often unglamorous roles in films such as Hideous Kinky, Holy Smoke, Quills, Enigma, Little Children, and Finding Neverland. One of my personal favorites is Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, which is quite simply one of the finest, most imaginative love stories I have ever seen.
Her Emmy-nominated turn as not quite herself in Extras displayed her bawdy side as well as her ability to have a laugh at her own expense. Ironically, during this episode she laments to Ricky Gervais’ Andy Millman that the only way she is going to receive the Oscar that she so covets is to play in a Holocaust picture.
In every performance, what comes through is an individual that gives her all and does not hold back. This is what her fans love and appreciate about her.