‘Titanic’: This Actress Beat Kate Winslet for the Best Actress Oscar

Thought Titanic won numerous Academy Awards, Kate Winslet did not win an Oscar for her role as Rose DeWitt Bukater. That year, the Academy Award for Best Actress went to someone else who appeared in a classic 1990s film. Here’s what the the winner of that year’s Best Actress Oscar said about the award’s effect on her career.

Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic near the film's staircase
Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio in Titanic | CBS via Getty Images

When the actress who beat Kate Winslet for Best Actress didn’t want to talk about the Oscars

According to Oscars.org, Titanic won 11 Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Song for “My Heart Will Go On.” Winslet was nominated for her role in the film. However, she lost the award to a veteran actress.

Helen Hunt appeared in numerous films including Peggy Sue Got Married, Only You, and Twister. However, she won the Oscar for her role in As Good as It Gets. So how did Hunt feel about her Oscar win?

Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson holding Oscars
Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson | HECTOR MATA/AFP via Getty Images

In an interview with Variety, Ramin Setoodeh asked Hunt if she had any special memories from Oscar night. She ignored the question and instead praised the director of As Good as It Gets, James L. Brooks. “I felt like I had finally met someone who was firing on as many cylinders–many of those cylinders, other people would call crazy. I had never had that before. If there’s a lasting affect, even if I don’t meet people who are like that, I’m not giving that up. That was an irreplaceable memory for me.”

How an Academy Award affected Helen Hunt’s career

Hunt’s decision to ignore Setoodeh‘s question might give the impression she didn’t care about her Oscar. In an interview with The Guardian, she made it clear she liked winning the award. However, she didn’t think winning an Oscar affected her career much. 

“Often with women, there’s a big dry spell afterwards,” she said. “I heard an actress say that, for about a year you’ve got some wind at your back, but after that, you just go back to finding a good job. I don’t think it’s a big game-changer. It can be, but it’s not like your worries are over in terms of getting good parts. I’ve had ups and downs. It was a dream come true, which is a great thing to be able to say; then you go back to work, trying to forge a career that’s fulfilling.” 

How the public reacted to ‘As Good as It Gets’ and ‘Titanic’

A trailer for Titanic

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So Oscar voters preferred Hunt’s performance to Winslet’s. The public preferred Winslet’s performance — if box office receipts are any indication. Box Office Mojo reports As Good as It Gets earned over $314 million. This is fairly impressive for a romantic comedy with no real spectacle. However, Box Office Mojo reports Titanic earned over $1.8 billion. Titanic has become a pop culture touchstone and it’s been rereleased multiple times. Hunt won Oscar gold — but Winslet won the box office.