Helmer on Winslet watch as noms arrive

While the rest of the movie world had its eye Jan. 27 on Fernando Meirelles, the Brazilian helmer who copped a surprise Oscar nom as director of “City of God,” he only had eyes for Kate Winslet.

To the consternation of the international press trying to reach him, Meirelles was attending a Soho screening of Winslet-Jim Carrey starrer “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” to size up the Brit star for his next pic.

He’s considering Winslet for a co-starring role opposite Ralph Fiennes in his next film, “The Constant Gardener,” based on the John le Carre novel.

The Oscar noms for his own pic clearly caught Meirelles off guard.

“I really wasn’t expecting it,” says Meirelles.”For a Brazilian film with subtitles to get four nominations …”

Meirelles lauded Miramax topper Harvey Weinstein for landing the nods: “Miramax worked for this nomination; I didn’t do any interviews. I didn’t go to the U.S.”

Now, embarked on his first English-lingo pic, Meirelles will probably be filming in Kenya as Oscar night approaches. But now that he’s on the kudos radar, he does plan to attend the awards with his fellow “City of God” nominees: writer Braulio Mantovani, editor Daniel Rezende and cinematographer Cesar Charlone.

“We are all best friends,” he says. “We’ve been working together 10-12 years.” So the Oscars “will be like a party.”

No word yet, incidentally, as to whether Winslet has the part.

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