​The resurgent Charlotte Rampling

With the Oscars just five weeks away, here's Anthony Mason with "The Envelope, Please ...":

In a half-century on screen, Charlotte Rampling has played opposite Paul Newman (in "The Verdict"), Robert Redford ("Spy Game"), and Woody Allen, who cast her as his ideal beauty in "Stardust Memories."

In Paris, where Rampling has lived for most of her adult life, she's known as "La Legende." A British actress at home in France, she's never courted Hollywood, preferring the parts to come to her:

"It's like a strange form of pride maybe," she told Mason. "I don't know what it is. Maybe I'm just an old-fashioned girl and I like to be asked to dance, you know? Somebody is going to ask me to dance, always."

"And you're still dancing."

"And I'm still dancing!"

This year, in the film "45 Years," about a marriage suddenly destabilized as the couple approach a landmark anniversary, her nuanced performance as the wife has earned Rampling her first Academy Award nomination. "That pleases me," she laughed.

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Tom Courtney and Charlotte Rampling in "45 Years."
IFC Films

She is one of 20 acting nominees this year, all white. The exclusion of black actors has prompted some to threaten an Oscar boycott. When Rampling called that "racist to whites" in comments on France's Radio 1 last week, the backlash was swift.

"I regret that my comments could have been misinterpreted," she said later in a statement to "Sunday Morning." "I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration."

Rampling has courted controversy before, most notoriously in the 1974 film, "The Night Porter," when she played a concentration camp survivor who, after the war, resumes a sado-masochistic relationship with the Nazi officer who abused her.

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Avco Embassy

"You yourself have said 'Night Porter' was a 'dangerous' role," said Mason.

"Yeah. I realized it could be very explosive. But then at the same time, it was extremely exciting to feel that you could touch that."

"And when you got the critical reaction you did?"

"I was really blasted."

Many critics were disgusted. Pauline Kael called it "an insult to the people caught in the Holocaust." But the film became an art house hit.

"For a long time, and perhaps maybe even still to this day, that's the image a lot of people still associate with you," said Mason. "How do you feel about that?"

"That means it's a very strong image. If that's what identifies me, then that's fine by me."

"You're proud of it?"

"Yeah, I am."

It led to higher-profile films in the '80s. She played an attorney who double-crosses her lover, Paul Newman, in "The Verdict."