Kate Winslet has appeared nude in 10 films, according to Mr. Skin. The nudity she displayed for her latest role, as a concentration camp guard in love with a barely post-adolescent teen in The Reader, has garnered both praise and extreme criticism. Some said the nudity was natural, lovely, and a necessary way of displaying her character’s vulnerability. Others found it an offensive means of humanizing a war criminal who committed horrific acts.
Winslet is considered the front runner for the best actress award at Sunday’s Oscars. She told Time that she won’t be doing nudity in the future – because she’s not sure she can “keep getting away with it” and doesn’t want to pigeonhole herself as the actress who is always nude:
When Daldry approached her about replacing Nicole Kidman, who had left the project in January 2008 after becoming pregnant, “I was concerned about whether I was skilled enough,” Winslet says. The nudity required for the film’s sex scenes didn’t unsettle her — though she now says, “I think I won’t do it again: a) I can’t keep getting away with it, and b) I don’t want to become ‘that actress who always gets her kit off.’” But she wondered if she could handle a German accent, play Hanna convincingly into old age and find a foothold in a character who exemplifies the banality of evil. “You don’t have to make the audience like you. And not worrying about that makes the job much more interesting,” she says. “But I did say to myself, Come on, Kate. You don’t have to humanize her, but you do have to understand her.”
Time has a slideshow of Winslet’s “10 best roles” and when you remember the great films you’ve seen her in it’s easy to see why she deserves an Oscar. Movies like Sense and Sensibility, Iris, Holy Smoke, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Revolutionary Road had her playing complicated, nuanced characters of all kinds.
After six nominations and no wins it’s generally though that Winslet’s time for an Oscar has come. Whether she deserves an Oscar for this particular film, or if she’s receiving one as a kind of tribute to her incredible career doesn’t seem to matter despite all the debate. This is an actress who is willing to bare herself on many levels and who has the ability to use her body in a way that enhances a character and doesn’t detract from the story. I don’t see why she shouldn’t continue to do that if it’s called for.
Kate Winslet is shown at the “US Ireland Alliance Pre-Oscar Gala Awards Ceremony” on 2/19/09. Credit: WENN/Fayes Vision