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Break a leg! Judi Dench won't bet on Oscar win

BERLIN (Reuters) - Dame Judi Dench advised punters on Monday not to bet on her winning at the Oscars, joking that not even the superstitious theatrical saying “Break a leg!” could bring her good luck as her leg would be in a cast.

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“Don’t put any money on me because you’ll lose,” Dench said at a good-humored news conference at the Berlin Film Festival when asked about the chances of winning best actress Oscar for her role in the acclaimed film “Notes On A Scandal.”

The veteran British actress, who won best supporting actress for “Shakespeare in Love” in 1998 and was nominated for four other movies in the past decade, said surgery meant that she would not be at the Oscars ceremony in Los Angeles on February 25.

“The thing about the Oscars, it’s strange because in the theater you would say ‘Break a leg’,” Dench, 72, said. “I can’t because I’m to have a knee operation. I can’t go to the awards. I’m going to have my leg broken and put back together.

“I will watch and cheer from my bed.”

The film about a school sex scandal in a working class London neighborhood won cheers from critics and four Oscar nominations, including her best actress nomination for a manipulative spinster, and the adulterous Cate Blanchett for best supporting actress.


Blanchett, sitting two seats to her left at the news conference, smiled but declined to offer any gambling advice.

Dench and Dame Helen Mirren, 61, for “The Queen,” are seen by bookmakers as front-runners in the best actress Academy Award. Other contenders include Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz and Meryl Streep.

Dench was nominated for best actress for “Mrs. Brown” in 1997 and best supporting actress in “Chocolat” in 2000. She was also nominated for best actress for “Iris” in 2001 and “Mrs. Henderson Presents” in 2005.

She said she felt honored to be named Dame Judi Dench at home in Britain but added the title posed problems abroad.

“It’s a wonderful honor to be made a Dame but it makes it difficult for you when you go to America because there it is something different to be a dame,” she quipped.

“So no one knows what to call you there. It’s better to be just called Judi. So I don’t mind that. I don’t think that’s altered me in any way or anyone’s attitude toward me.”