This year, she is being mentioned for another Oscar for her Golden Globe nominated performance in the comedy "About Schmidt."
Bates portrays Roberta Hertzel, mother of Warren Schmidt's future son-in-law. She is a divorced, sex-crazed woman who considers herself an artist.
"I like to say she leads with her pelvis," said Bates on The Early Show. "That's sort of where I started with the character. Roberta reveals a lot more of herself than anybody wants to ever know about her at the drop of a hat."
Bates says her character represents a direct challenge to Warren Schmidt's sensibilities. Schmidt is portrayed by Jack Nicholson.
"We had a lovely time. I can't describe what it's like to work with him.
He's a really hard-working, down-to-earth actor, and he does his job," she said. "I mean, you know, I guess I was expecting an entourage and, you know, all kinds of b.s., but he's just the opposite from that."
There is one scene in particular where her character bares it all in a hot tub with Nicholson and he can barely stand to be there, Bates said she had a drink before filming that scene.
"I was advised by my manager, I've been with 20 years, Susan Smith said, 'Why don't you have a cosmopolitan before you get in the tub, just to take the edge off.' It actually helped a lot," Bates said.
Bates also has made her mark directing.
"I had an opportunity to go and meet this wonderful television producer Stan Margulies on a project for A&E," Bates said. It was "Dash & Lilly," about Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries or a Movie.
"I went in and I had to pitch. You know, it was like an audition. And I hadn't done that in years. So I really felt like I was starting at the bottom, working my way up. And in a way I feel like I'm still doing that. I've been very fortunate to work on "Six Feet Under," the HBO show, and a lot of the actors there are theater actors. So it's been a very comfortable place for me," Bates said.
About Kathy Bates
- Born Kathleen Doyle Bates in Memphis, Tenn., June 28, 1948
- Attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Majored in theater
- In 1970, she moved to New York to pursue her career. The following year, she made her feature film debut in bit role as a singer auditioning in Milos Forman's "Taking Off"; also wrote song "And Even Horses Had Wings" that she performed in film; credited as Bobo Bates.
- In 1973, made her stage debut as a duck in "Virginia Folk Tales" at Wayside Children's Theatre in Middletown, Va.
- In 1976, she was Joanne, one of the Texas Southern belles, in the three-character drama "Vanities" for her off-Broadway debut. The following year, she reprised her stage role in the L.A. production of "Vanities;" and made her TV debut on an episode of "The Love Boat."
- From 1978 to 1979, she was a member of the company of the Actors Theatre of Louisville, Ky.; and appeared in Beth Henley's "Crimes of the Heart"
- 1979 to 1980, acted on stage in "The Art of Dining."
- In 1980, made her Broadway debut in support of Jane Alexander in the short-lived production "Goodbye, Fidel."
- 1982, she originated the role of Stella May in the short-lived Broadway production of "Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean", staged by Robert Altman; she reprised the part in Altman's film version.
- In 1983, she starred on Broadway in "'night, Mother"; received a Tony nomination for her portrayal of a depressed woman bent on suicide.
- In 1984, Bates played Belle, the cellmate of Erica Kane, on the ABC daytime drama "All My Children."
- In 1986, she made her TV-movie debut, "Johnny Bull" (ABC). The following year, she starred Off-Broadway and in Los Angeles (1988) in "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" in a role written for her by playwright Terrence McNally. The role was given to Michelle Pfieffer for the film version.
- In 1990, she had a breakthrough screen performance in "Misery" and received the Best Actress Academy Award.
- In 1991, she co-starred in "Fried Green Tomatoes" and in 1992, she played a supporting role in "Prelude to a Kiss."
- In 1995, she starred as the title character, a woman accused of murder, in the feature adaptation of Stephen King's "Dolores Claiborne;" and made her TV directorial debut in the PBS production "Talking With"; she also acted in one segment.
- In 1996, she directed episodes of "Homicide: Life on the Street" and "NYPD Blue." The same year ,she portrayed manager Helen Kushnik in the HBO movie "The Late Shift" and was cast as the tenacious police woman investigating the disappearance of the school's headmaster in the remake of "Diabolique."
- In 1997, she directed the failed TV pilot "Fargo;" and portrayed Molly Brown in James Cameron's blockbuster "Titanic."
- In 1998, she delivered a scene-stealing supporting turn as a political consultant in "Primary Colors" for which she received an Academy Award nomination. The same year, she portrayed Adam Sandler's mother in the surprise hit "The Waterboy" and directed an episode of the HBO prison series "Oz."
- In 1999, she directed Sam Shepard and Judy Davis in the TV-movie "Dash & Lilly" (A&E), about Dashiell Hammett and Lillian Hellman for which she was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Directing for a Miniseries or a Movie. 1999 was also the year she received an Emmy nomination as Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie for her portrayal of Miss Hannigan in the ABC TV production of "Annie." And Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for a stint on "3rd Rock from the Sun."
- In 2001, she directed episodes of "Six Feet Under" (has directed 6 episodes of the show); She made, as well, an un redited cameo appearance as a squirrel seller in the comedy "Rat Race;" and portrayed the mother of the James brothers in the revisionist Western "American Outlaws."
- In 2002, she had a co-starring role in "Dragonfly."