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Fernanda Montenegro reveals the sensation of almost winning the Best Actress statuette

Fernanda Montenegro made history when she was nominated in the “Best Actress” category at the 1999 Oscars, 25 years ago, for her role as Dora in “Central do Brasil”. Walter Salles' film also competed for “Best Foreign Film”, as the category was called at the time, but the spotlight was on the actress, the first Latin American actress to compete for the statuette.

Despite leaving the most important cinema awards ceremony empty-handed, to the indignation of many fans and Brazilians, the actress remembers that moment without sadness. Fernanda recalled the behind-the-scenes of the Oscar edition in which she participated in an interview with Splash, on Uol, and even revealed the support she received from a major Hollywood actor.

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Fernanda Montenegro talks about her Oscar nomination

Brazilian actress Fernanda Montenegro was the first, and only one to date, to be nominated in the main Oscar category for a Portuguese-language feature film. At the time she competed with Cate Blanchett for “Elizabeth”, Meryl Streep for “A Love True”, Emily Watson for “Hilary and Jackie” and Gwyneth Paltrow for “Shakespeare in Love”, the latter being the one who ended up taking the statuette.

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During the interview with Uol, the actress recalled this moment in her career. Fernanda stated that her appointment was a very memorable occasion. “It was and still is a beautiful and important experience. The competition, as far as I was concerned, as a Latin American actress, was Jupiterian.”she declared without any resentment.


See the moment the “Best Actress” award was announced (Video: reproduction/Youtube/Oscars)

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The actress also revealed that during the awards ceremony she received the support of an actor, Ian McKellen, who was also competing for the Oscar that year for his performance in “Gods and Monsters”. About the fans she commented: “The great and celebrated English actor Ian McKellen, competing for an Oscar at the same awards show, came up to me and, seriously, said — 'I sincerely hope you win the Oscar.' I replied — 'I hope, too, that you win'. We both lost. If this artistic reference, English, didn’t take it, imagine!”

But still, Fernanda has good memories of the ceremony in which she participated. “It was a huge, huge party”. His co-star in the film “Central do Brasil”, Vinícius de Oliveira, also remembers the award. At the time he was only 12 years old, he comments that at the time he did not understand the scope of the award, his greatest joy was being able to travel to Los Angeles to participate in the ceremony and being able to meet the artists he admired.

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Regarding the result, Vinícius regrets Fernanda's defeat. “I never forgave the fact that Fernanda didn’t win the Oscar. This for me is more painful than the film itself, because we had great competitors, 'Life is Beautiful' himself. He talks about the Holocaust, an important subject and is highlighted at the Oscars.”he said. “Fernanda Montenegro already? It's tough to lose to a weak actress in a weak role. Fernanda's role in 'Central do Brasil' is something extraordinary”, pointed out the actor.

About the film “Central do Brasil”

The actors, in addition to commenting on the Oscar ceremony, also talked about the work and how it continues to impact viewers. The film follows Dora, Fernanda Montenegro's character, a woman who works writing letters to people who don't know how to read and write in Central do Brasil, in the center of Rio de Janeiro. Until one day she decides to help a boy, played by Vinicius de Oliveira, find his unknown father after his mother was run over.

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Fernanda Montenegro and Vinícius de Oliveira in a scene in the film “Central do Brasil” (1998), by Walter Salles (Photo: reproduction/Globo)


Montenegro recalls that he was moved when he read the script for the first time and that he gladly accepted to participate in the production. The actress already admired the director and wanted to work together, but other previous projects ended up not happening. Fernanda also praises her partner, Vinicius, and says that the boy was essential for the film to happen. For her, the film remains present in the memories of Brazilians because of the theme that is still alive.

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“It is a theme showing that even in the face of social abandonment, human beings survive through courage and faith in their own lives. It's a saga of resistance. Walter Salles is a movingly sensitizing filmmaker.”she said.

Vínicius agrees with the actress and adds that even years later he still meets people who point out that the film changed their lives, many people in the industry started working with cinema after this film. He feels very proud to be part of something as big as this production has become.

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Featured photo: Fernanda Montenegro comments behind the scenes of the ceremony she participated in in 1999 (Reproduction/Leo Martins/Caras)

Fernanda Montenegro reveals the sensation of almost winning the Best Actress statuette

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