Kate Winslett wins her first Oscar for her role as Hanna Schmitz in "The Reader."

Best Lead Actress Oscar Academy Award The Oscar goes to Kate Winslet for her role as Hanna Schmitz in The Reader

The Oscar goes to Kate Winslet for her role in "The Reader" (The Weinstein Company) for Performance by an actress in a leading role, during the 81st Annual Academy Awards® from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA Sunday, February 22, 2009.

"I'd be lying if I hadn't made a version of this speech before, I think I was probably eight years old and staring into the bathroom mirror. And this (holding up her statuette) would've been a shampoo bottle. Well, it's not a shampoo bottle now!"

"I feel very fortunate to have made it all the way from there to here. And I'd like to thank some of the people along the way who had faith in me, my friends and my family, especially my mum and dad, who are in this room somewhere. Dad, whistle or something, 'cause then I'll know where you are. (He whistles.) Yeah! (Waving to him.) I love you."

This is Kate Winslett's 6th Oscar nomination overall and 4th in the Best Lead Actress Academy Award category.

Kate Winslett as Hanna Schmitz in The Reader Best Lead Actress Oscar Academy Award Nomination

Her other leading role nominations were for Titanic (1997), Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) and Little Children (2006). Her supporting role nominations were for Sense and Sensibility (1995) and Iris (2001).

Kate Winslet plays Hanna Schmitz, a German woman in her thirties whose teenage lover is unaware of the dark secret in her past.

The film version of Bernhard Schlink's 1995 novel "The Reader," opens in post-WWII Germany when teenager Michael Berg becomes ill and is helped home by Hanna Schmitz, a woman in her mid-thirties. Michael recovers from scarlet fever and seeks out Hanna to thank her.

Hanna's past contains a dark secret, however, the revelation of which, in the decades following the period of his first experience with love, will both shock Michael and force him to confront his country's history.

Years later Michael is a Heidelberg law student. One day at a war-crimes trial of female Auschwitz guards, he hears the name of his former lover cited along with several other women. She stands before him, a shell of a woman, still laden with secrets. He cannot believe it. His predatory dream woman was a Nazi.

About Kate Winslett

Best Lead Actress Oscar Academy Award Nomination Kate Winslet plays Hanna Schmitz in The Reader

English born actress, Kate Winslet, grew up in a family of actors and began performing for British television when she was thirteen.

At the age of seventeen, she made her name internationally in Peter Jackson’s feature film HEAVENLY CREATURES. She followed that in 1995 with her role as Marianne Dashwood in Ang Lee’s SENSE AND SENSIBILITY. Kate received her first Academy Award nomination for this performance and was also nominated for a Golden Globe. She then went on to win the BAFTA and the Screen Actors Guild Award.

In her next film, she co-starred with Christopher Eccleston in Michael Winterbottom’s JUDE and then as Ophelia in Kenneth Branagh’s HAMLET. She then went on to appear as the amazing Rose in James Cameron’s TITANIC opposite Leonardo DiCaprio. At the age of 22, Kate received her second Academy Award nomination for this role and the honor of being the youngest actress ever to be nominated for two Academy Awards.

In 1997 Kate starred as Julia in HIDEOUS KINKY, directed by Gillies McKinnon, and in 1998 co-starred with Harvey Keitel in Jane Campion’s comedic drama HOLY SMOKE. She also starred in Philip Kaufman’s period drama QUILLS along with Geoffrey Rush, Joaquin Phoenix and Michael Caine.

Kate co-starred in the Richard Eyre production of IRIS. In her performance portraying a young Iris Murdoch, Kate received a Golden Globe and Oscar nomination. She next starred in Michael Apteds’ ENIGMA, a spy drama about code breakers during early WWII period and THE LIFE OF DAVID GALE with Kevin Spacey. Kate then came to New York and dyed her hair blue and orange for her amazing portrayal as the quirky Clementine in ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND for which she has received Academy Award, Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for Best Actress. She then went on to star opposite Johnny Depp in FINDING NEVERLAND, which was named 2004 Best Film by the National Board of Review.

In 2006, Kate was seen in ALL THE KING’S MEN, opposite Jude Law and Sean Penn, directed by Steven Zaillian. She then extended her voice to the animated feature FLUSHED AWAY. Kate finished the year in the romantic comedy THE HOLIDAY opposite Cameron Diaz, Jude Law, and Jack Black and also stared opposite Jennifer Connelly in Todd Field’s LITTLE CHILDREN. Kate received her fifth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her portrayal of Sarah Pierce in LITTLE CHILDREN. This nomination earned Kate the title as the youngest actress to receive five nominations.

Kate Winslett recently appeared in the movie Revolutionary Road along with her TITANIC co-star Leonardo DiCaprio.

Revolutionary Road is based on the critically acclaimed novel by Richard Yates and is directed by her husband, Sam Mendes.

2009 Best Lead Actress Oscar Nominations

Kate Winslett - Best Actress 2009 Oscar Winner - 81st Academy Awards

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