Kudos arrive for turn as grieving mom


PROS: Acad might be glad to see her back on the bigscreen with meaty role.

CONS: She’s at her dramatic best when angry; possibly a tough sell to voters.

Thanks to her anything-but-sleepy performance in Miramax’s “In the Bedroom,” Sissy Spacek has emerged with critical raves and wins from the New York Film Critics Circle and the American Film Institute.

“The ‘In the Bedroom’ script was beautifully written,” says Spacek of tyro director Todd Field and Robert Festinger’s National Board of Review-winning screenplay. “Writer-directors are my favorite type of filmmakers. They have a broader connection with the material. You can talk to them about dialogue.”

“Bedroom” features Spacek and Tom Wilkinson as Ruth and Matt Fowler, happy, loving parents whose Maine life and harmonious marriage disintegrate after the murder of their son by his girlfriend’s estranged ex-husband.

Both Spacek and Wilkinson are picking up steam. The pair shared a special jury prize for acting at the 2001 Sundance Film Festival and Spacek was named best actress by the L.A. Film Critics Assn., which gave “Bedroom” picture of the year honors.

Though Spacek was pleased with several of her “Bedroom” scenes, especially the screaming match with Wilkinson where “I finally explode,” the actress says the real attraction to breathing life into Ruth was the music.

“I play a music teacher, and I loved working with the choir. It gave me a better sense of how Ruth is attracted to things that are not the norm,” says Spacek, a 1980 Oscar winner for the portrayal of country singer Loretta Lynn in “Coal Miner’s Daughter.”

Spacek is flattered that her peers may deem her “Bedroom” performance Oscarworthy. Winning is like “being a member of a very exclusive club,” says the actress whose roles in “Carrie,” “Missing,” “The River” and “Crimes of the Heart” also garnered Academy Award noms.

“It’s always thrilling to know that people connected with the film,” Spacek adds.

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