Courting Oscar Again Still Understated

2012-05 FEA Janet McTeer Albert Nobbs H
Patrick Redmond/Roadside Attractions

McTeer has earned a supporting actress nomination for her role opposite fellow nominee Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs."

It's not the dressing up that Janet McTeer enjoys but the conversations along the way.

It's been 12 years since Janet McTeer, 50, last braved the endless red carpets of awards season. Back then she was a first-time Academy Award nominee as best actress for the indie film Tumbleweeds, playing a single mom who drifts from man to man. This time, she's earned a supporting actress nomination for Albert Nobbs, in which, opposite fellow nominee Glenn Close, she portrays a woman confidently passing as a man. The second time around, she's finding the whole process "more intense. It does seem to be more elaborate, more clothes, more glamour. I wonder if it has something to do with the recession?"

For an actress known for her command of the stage -- schooled at Britain's Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, she won a 1997 Tony for playing Nora in A Doll's House -- the red carpet isn't her natural habitat. "I think you have to be very confident," says the striking, 6-foot-1 McTeer. "I'm not a model, I'm a grown-up actress. If I show up looking lovely, that's nice. But I don't want to look like anyone else. I just want to look like me."

The real delight of the season, she finds, is "bumping into people who you always thought were fantastic. My favorite thing at the SAG Awards -- obviously hanging out with Glenn, who's a great friend -- was sitting in a corner and talking to Kathy Bates."

She's also been able to retreat back into work, since she's facing off against Close in the final season of Damages, currently filming in New York.

After her first flush of American success, "I just wanted to go back home to England," McTeer confesses. This time, she intends on hanging around since, two years ago, she married an American, and she and her husband divide their time between New York and Maine. And, she adds, "I'd love to do more stuff over here. It's all about widening your pool."