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NAOMI WATTS believes her Oscar nomination for the Thai tsunami drama The Impossible is important for reasons that go well beyond the glamour of the 85th Academy Awards.
The Impossible - Trailer
An account of a family caught, with tens of thousands of strangers, in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time.
''If it helps the film, that makes me extra happy, because it was the greatest natural disaster of our time and it's important that people get to learn about that story,'' she said.
''When it took place in 2004, we knew it was going on but I don't know that we fully understood it. I think the film helped us get closer to understanding it.''
Watts is nominated for her emotional performance as a doctor separated from her family by the tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people. She considers the Spanish doctor whose story inspired the film, Maria Belon, to be a friend for life after working closely together to make The Impossible.
''Her story is just one part of a massive story and she kept saying that to me,'' Watts said in Los Angeles. ''It was very much her story - it never deviated for entertainment value or shock value. The responsibility was not just to honour her story but everyone's.''
Having been nominated for an Oscar for the intense drama 21 Grams nine years ago, Watts is thrilled for another reason to have a second one.
''It makes it feel like the first one wasn't a fluke,'' she said. ''Feel free to laugh at that.''
But she rates her chance of winning as zero - ''I just want to have a good time and then have a great party afterwards'' - with two main contenders for the Oscar. ''Emmanuelle Riva was the performance of the year,'' she said. ''But Jennifer Lawrence did a beautiful job too. And Jessica Chastain. They're all great performances. And - how do you pronounce it? - Quvenzhane [Wallis] was great too.''
Watts recently finished playing Princess Diana in the biographical drama Diana, which is due out later this year.
''I really wrestled with saying yes to that because you're really subjecting yourself to public opinion on a major scale, aren't you?'' she said. ''But I couldn't say no at the same time. And once you're on set, you're just in the story and in the character.''
Watts says the movie is about the last two years of Diana's life and her relationship with a Pakistani surgeon, Hasnat Khan.
''It covers romance, loneliness, paranoia with the media and things like that. It's a fascinating story that was going to be told at some point and worthy of telling.''
In another strong filmmaking year for the English-born, Australian-raised actress, there was one hiccup - the dire reception for the comedy Movie 43, which also starred Hugh Jackman, Kate Winslet and Emma Stone. So what did she think when she read reviews that described it as one of the worst movies ever made?
''I don't read reviews,'' Watts said. ''I'm sure they were horrible. But my friends are not going to send those ones to me, are they?''
And that most cliched of Oscars questions: what will she be wearing? ''I don't know yet,'' Watts said ahead of a final dress fitting. ''A girl's got to have a couple of choices.''