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Kate Winslet at the SAG Awards: Best performance of her career

January 25, 2009 |  6:51 pm

Considering how expressive Kate Winslet was when she won best supporting actress at the Golden Globes for "The Reader" — joyous, bubbly, tearful all at once — it was curious to see her sitting there at her table tonight at the Shrine Auditorium, hunched over a bit, looking forlorn, almost sad when the camera caught her just as her name was announced as winner of a SAG Award.

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But she was thunderstruck. No doubt she didn't mean to look ungrateful — the news took the wind out of her. Winning tonight means, yeah, the Oscar is probably next. "They" don't secretly hate her, after all, or consider her a lightweight. When she won at the Globes, she told us poignantly how she felt in the past as a serial loser. She was so edgy, freaked, joyous, pop-eyed and frantic as she made her brief but bold confession at the podium that a few chaps back in the press room wondered out loud why she was carrying on so crazily. "Jeez, Kate, calm down!" one journalist snarled. "It's just an award!"

No, it's not. Winslet had lost five times at the Golden Globes before she won best supporting actress for "The Reader." She also had five heart-breaking, crushing disappointments at the Oscars. At some point Winslet must have felt like winning would never really happen despite what gushing fans and fawning staffers and colleagues say. Back in 1995, Winslet won a SAG Award for "Sense and Sensibility," but it was an isolated win after losing at the Globes. This win for "The Reader" has greater significance; it's part of a winning streak and she can feel it.

Tonight, the TV camera caught Winslet like a deer in the headlights — just as wonderful reality set in, magic time — as she channeled relief, awe, peace and mad joy all at once. Then, once she collected herself, she was able to rise and head to the podium to collect it.

Seeing how Winslet looked at her table tonight, having that private moment, was one of the great scenes of this whole awards season. Remember it, Derbyites. Relish it.

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