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Naomi Watts Credits Much of Her Success to THR's Todd McCarthy (Video)

The longtime film critic wrote a "love letter" about "Mulholland Drive," which the actress says sparked immense interest in the film and herself.

TORONTO -- This week, Oscar-nominated actress Naomi Watts, who was in town to attend the world premiere of her new film The Impossible at the Toronto International Film Festival, told me during an extensive interview that she credits much of her success to THR film critic Todd McCarthy.

Asked to identify her "big break," the 43-year-old pointed to the world premiere of David Lynch's Mulholland Drive (2001) in the Grand Palais at the Cannes Film Festival, and McCarthy's positive response.

"There was a standing O. I've learned, you know, you can get a standing O often, but that time it felt very, very big. And there were a lot of people really looking at me in the eye very closely." She laughingly continued, "I was like, 'Whoa! What's going on here?' I couldn't get a handshake before, much less eye contact."

"I remember this: Todd McCarthy [who was then writing for another publication] wrote an insane review -- just beyond -- like a love letter. Him and David Lynch -- I have a lot to thank them for, because that's when the phones really started ringing. People weren't necessarily at that screening, but they read that review, and heard the buzz on the film, and then agents were calling, you know, directors, and stuff like that."