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Helen Mirren ready for busy awards season

December 29, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
This is a time of year Helen Mirren has become accustomed to -- the awards season. The veteran actress has won the Academy Award, plus three Golden Globes, two Screen Actors Guild (SAG) and Critics Choice Awards, not to mention four Emmys.She could be honored again this year. She's been nominated for her role in "The Last Station," in which she plays writer Leo Tolstoy's wife, Sofia.

Mirren is more than thrilled to have received acting nominations for the upcoming Golden Globes, and SAG awards. But the pragmatic star says it isn't just about hearing your name read off a list with your peers. Award nominations help films like "The Last Station" sell tickets.

"A lot of my films are the smaller films, not backed by huge studios," explains Mirren. "They don't have massive marketing campaigns behind them and they need the audience to come to them. They need to find the audience, and it's nominations that really help with that."

Walking red carpets at awards shows is something Mirren has been fortunate enough to do many times over her long career. And no, she says it does not get old.

"When you're younger, you tend to be a bit cavalier about it, or arrogant about it," admits Mirren. "As you get older and you've done it more times, and you've won a few times, you've lost many times, then it becomes more important to you."

Mirren will share some award ceremonies this season with her friend, "Precious" director Lee Daniels. The two worked together in 2005 in "Shadowboxer," Daniels' first film.

The director wanted to work with Helen again and offered her the role of a social worker in "Precious." The timing wasn't right, but Mirren loves who he cast instead.

"Only Lee could think of me and Mariah Carey as being two people who could play the same role," laughs Mirren. "I mean, isn't that brilliant?"

"The Last Station" is in theaters now.