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.
''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, which 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 the Oscar between two contenders. ''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 said the movie is about the last two years of Diana's life and her relationship with 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 actor, there was one hiccup - the dire reception for the comedy Movie 43.