The 1990s have been a rough decade for Kim Basinger — until Monday night’s Oscar win for best supporting actress in the New Regency/Warner Bros. noir drama “L.A. Confidential.”
“I didn’t think of winning at all,” said a clearly stunned Basinger after accepting the Oscar on her first-ever nomination. “It’s been an amazing ride for me from Cannes onwards to the Golden Globes and now this.”
Final steps in a comeback
When Basinger took the stairs Monday night to accept her Oscar, she was also taking the final steps in a career comeback impressive even by Hollywood standards.
Five years ago, Basinger was considered practically unbankable after she was sued by producer Carl Mazzocone for breach of contract when she dropped out of the controversial 1993 erotic thriller “Boxing Helena.” The legal wranglings led Basinger to personal bankruptcy and a professional nadir.
Basinger gave a memorable performance in the critically lauded “L.A. Confidential” as the Veronica Lake-lookalike prostitute Lynn Bracken, a role that also won her a Golden Globe.
It was a part that many in Hollywood would have said that the Athens, Ga., native was born to play, particularly after her steamy role in the 1986 sex-drama “9 1/2 Weeks.”
Basinger made her TV debut in 1976 in an episode of “Starsky and Hutch” and her film debut in “Hard Country” in 1981.
Despite roles of varying heft during the 1990s, in such pictures as “The Getaway” and “Pret a Porter,” Basinger had not been in a real hit since 1989’s “Batman.”
The actress said that she had not yet decided on her next project.
A withdrawal from acting
Asked why she had decided to return to acting after announcing her withdrawal four years ago, Basinger answered: “I never said that I would give up acting. I wanted to continue no matter what the hurdles were.”
Besides, added Basinger, she had other important considerations that took precedence over her career.
Basinger has received much attention offscreen as a vocal supporter of animal rights. She married actor Alec Baldwin in 1993 and they have one daughter.
“I left to have a baby,” she pointed out. “But if this is coming back, then it’s really coming back.”