Hard to imagine, but on the morning Oscar nominations were announced, Michelle Williams had blanked on the significance of the day and was in the midst of her daily routine: Getting 6-year-old daughter Matilda up and ready, putting on her snowsuit -- the usual mom things. She was visiting a friend's house for breakfast, standing outside and looking around when the friend opened the door and leaned out, saying, "Michelle, they just called your name on TV."
As Williams told TODAY's Ann Curry on Thursday, "It was a very sweet way to hear that news."
She added, "It slipped my mind, which is something that's so great about having a kid. You get really absorbed."
Williams, whose nomination comes from playing Marilyn Monroe in "My Week with Marilyn," has a very close relationship with her daughter (Matilda's dad is the late Heath Ledger), and even thanked her from the stage at the Golden Globes this year.
"She gives me balance, and I know that any risks that I take in my work are actually safe, because nothing really bad can happen there. My success as a parent is what matters most to me," explained Williams.
Not to say that Williams doesn't give it all to prepare for a role; for Marilyn, she said she spent at least 10 months preparing to play both Marilyn Monroe, the celebrity, and Norma Jean, the person inside. On top of all of that, she even sings in the film. The prep, she said, "felt endless! In some ways, I feel like I'm still doing it. You know, so much information that comes out about Marilyn, more information every day it seems like ... I was steeping in information. There's no end to it."
Yet with all of that research, and for all of the accolades she's received from the portrayal, Williams says compliments still give her "a sense of shock." She may be up for an Oscar in February (this is Williams' third nomination) but as she said, the truth is, "There were so many days I just didn't know what I was doing. But I feel like I never really know!"
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