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SAG nominations: Hilary Swank on 'Conviction'

Hilary Swank 
An unexpected Screen Actors Guild nomination for her lead role as Betty Anne Waters in "Conviction" has Hilary Swank feeling as excited as she did years ago as a young actress.

"It never ceases to be surprising. Look, I feel as I did from ĎBoys Donít Cry,í itís just such an honor. And I think that by your peers, that this is SAG Ė sorry, Iím still waking up Ė the body of actors, and that theyíre my peers ó actors know what goes into creating a character and all thatís behind it. Everyone else can have an idea, but they really donít know. And that makes it so huge, that they will watch a performance and say, ĎWow, I know what went into that.í

"It feels just the same. It feels like itís the first time."

And though peer recognition is always nice, Swank says in the end it's the work that counts. "I have to say, the real payoff in a movie like this is that Betty Anne Waters looks at you and says, ĎYou did justice to my story.' When you go to the premiere and she looks over at you and has a sparkle in her eye and wells up and says, ĎThank you,í thatís the real honor. Thatís the experience and the reason why Iím an actor. Itís to tell the stories. And look, this is a great honor and it feels so good because itís your peers and they know what goes into it, but itís the experience of the whole. I immediately said, what about Sam [Rockwell] and Juliette [Lewis]? Itís bittersweet when itís such a collaboration and youíre only as good as your weakest link. And I think everyone is stellar in this."

So by now, the multiple award-winner must have an award show routine? "I do have that down. When Iím just getting ready, I usually take about an hour, but for something like this, you make a day out of it. I like to go for a hike and just start  the morning by clearing my mind and being really grateful. Then I have a nice breakfast, usually with my team of people who are so supportive of me no matter what. But to hang out at home, no matter what, and take a bath and get a nice long manicure and pedicure. I make it kind of a process. Itís a great time to celebrate and I hope Betty Anne can be there, because all of a sudden, itís over."

"Conviction" hasn't been breaking box office records, though. Might an award nomination get more people to see it? "I think movies can always hit a wider audience. It can always be bigger, no matter what. The award is a very big and important factor. When people say, ĎWhat would a nomination mean to you?í Obviously, a SAG nomination, itís a little different that my peers see my work in a way that they appreciate. But the nomination just gets the movie out there."

So, how will she celebrate Thursday? "I wasnít really planning on doing anything. What do you think I should do?"

It seems like you like hiking.

"Maybe I will go for a hike. I like being out in the rain because I grew up in Washington state."

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Hilary Swank; credit: Reuters

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