Marcia Gay Harden says her 2001 Academy Award win for Pollock wasn’t celebrated by one of her fellow nominees.
The actress reflected on taking home the Best Supporting Actress trophy that year, which was admittedly a surprise victory. She hadn’t been nominated for the role in the big lead up awards shows and the film, starring and directed by Ed Harris, had only been released nationwide two days before the March 25, 2001 show. So her win — over Judi Dench (Chocolat), Kate Hudson (Almost Famous), Frances McDormand (Almost Famous) and Julie Walters (Billy Elliot) — was a shock, especially to Dench apparently, who Harden suggests “wasn’t so happy” about it.
“It just felt great,” Harden told Vulture of her big Oscar moment. “And by the way, I felt the girls,” referring to her fellow nominees, “were really happy for me as well. There was one I will not mention — but it wasn’t Kate — who seemingly wasn’t so happy.”
When asked who she was referring to, she was coy at first saying, “I would never say anything negative because what a night, right?” But, amid continued questioning, she slowly eliminated everyone but Dench.
Asked if it was Walters, she replied, “It’s not her.” When McDormand and Dench were brought up, she replied, “I’m friends with Frances McDormand. There you go.”
She went on to say McDormand “doesn’t give a sh**” about what awards she wins. And while she acknowledged it was Dench, without naming her, she said, “But I don’t want to say anything negative about anybody, honestly. It was my perception that somebody wasn’t so happy, but you never know what people have going on. Whatever.”
She added, “However, I’m a big one for effusive congratulations. That’s who I am. I’m just so happy for other people in their wins and their glories. For me, there’s plenty of room at the top. Sometimes you just accept that life rolls along and things come to you when they should.”
Harden’s interview wasn’t just about the apparent shade from a fellow nominee. She detailed how she landed the role auditioning — with Harris telling her to tone down her accent — and her experience as an Oscar newbie at the show. It included stories about her Harry Winston bodyguard, there to keep an eye on all the borrowed diamonds she wore, going into a “major panic” when she went to go find her dad at the bar. (Her dad died the following year, so it was a special moment having him there.) Also, she shared how the night ended with “this crazy paparazzi chase” which had her mother, who thought the trailing cars were people after Harden’s jewelry, to suggest they “fling [the diamonds] from the sunroof.” It turned out, after her limo raced to the closest police department that the paparazzi were only chasing her because “They thought I was Russell Crowe.”
Harden received her second Academy Award nomination, in the same category, for 2003’s Mystic River. She’s most recently appeared in The Morning Show and Barkskins and the film Moxie.
Dench, who has been nominated for seven Oscars and won Best Supporting Actress in 1999 for Shakespeare in Love, has not yet publicly addressed Harden’s claim. Her rep has not yet responded to Yahoo Entertainment’s request for comment.
The 93rd Academy Awards are set to air on Sunday, April 25.
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