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Jacki Weaver – Supporting Actress, Animal Kingdom

Sandy George meets an Australian veteran in the process of being ‘discovered’ for her performance as an evil matriarch in crime thriller Animal Kingdom

With a Golden Globe nomination for best supporting actress under her belt — to add to a raft of critics’ awards — Jacki Weaver is relishing the prospect of being offered more film roles, perhaps outside Australia, after her tour de force as the loving but sociopathic grandmother in tense crime thriller Animal Kingdom.

In the past few weeks the 63-year-old actress has received the Globe nomination alongside awards from the US National Broad of Review, the Australian Film Institute (AFI) and the Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco Film critics’ associations, amongst others.

“It seems like an impossible dream,” Weaver says of the current Oscar hype. The international attention began when Animal Kingdom won the World -Cinema Jury Prize at -Sundance almost a year ago, and Weaver has been “having a ball” reading scripts ever since, although she does admit that the majority of them require her to play similarly evil -matriarchs.

“Because this [attention] wasn’t on my agenda and is coming so late in my career, I will be more thoughtful about what I take,” she says. “Twenty or even 30 years ago my reaction would have been quite different. And who knows, it might all -fizzle out and next year I will be touring 62 venues [-theatres] in seven months as I’ve done for the last two years.”

The AFI Award came in the middle of a run of Chekov’s Uncle Vanya for the Sydney -Theatre Company in which she appears opposite Richard Roxburgh, Hugo Weaving and Cate Blanchett.

Weaver is one of the most recognisable actors of her generation at home in Australia, although she admits that theatre has always been her first love. The 1970s was her film decade and she won AFI Awards for the films Caddie and Stork, but while Weaver has “never been out of work”, she also doesn’t pretend the lack of ongoing film offers hasn’t been disappointing.

“I am thrilled for myself but I’m more thrilled for him, although it sounds cheesy,” she says of Animal Kingdom’s writer-director David Michod. She is quick to deflect praise: to the film’s other actors or to her South African husband Sean Taylor — “I am only the second-best actor in the family after him”.

In her speech she thanked “everyone I ever married”. There have been five weddings “but counting serious de factos, nine husbands”, she explained when asked.

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