THR's Oscar Icons Portfolio: Steven Spielberg, Eva Marie Saint, Michael Moore
This story first appeared in the March 1 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
When Watts, 44, arrives for this photo shoot, Saint, 88, greets her by joking, “I don’t recognize you dried off!” The younger actress received her second best actress Oscar nomination this year for her portrayal of a tsunami survivor in Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Impossible, and the older actress, best known for her work opposite Marlon Brando in Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront (1954) and Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest (1959), is excited to praise her fellow leading lady for her physically demanding performance: “You are so great. It was just incredible.”
When Saint won the best supporting actress Oscar for Waterfront 58 years ago, she accepted it in New York -- the show was being held on both coasts and cut together via television -- and made her way to the stage slowly because she was nine months pregnant. She began her speech by saying, “I may have the baby right here!” (She gave birth two days later.)
Saint has been back to the Oscars since -- she co-presented Penelope Cruz with a statuette four years ago -- and laments: “What’s changed a lot is the hype that we have now. Every day something comes in the mail. Back then, you just did a movie, and if you received an award, you said, ‘Thank you.’ You didn’t have to be clever.”
Watts, who soon will appear as Princess Diana in Oliver Hirschbiegel's Diana, says she wishes she could have worked in Saint’s era -- which seems to surprise Saint, who jokes, “You could do Waterfront! Let’s do a remake!” Watts laughs: “Let’s do it. It probably will happen at some point.” Groans Saint, “That’s true,” and adds that she has no plans to retire (she recently wrapped production on Akiva Goldsman's directorial debut Winter's Tale, which also stars Russell Crowe and Will Smith). "But if you played the part, that would be OK."