The film industry – like many companies across the country – was left befuddled by the COVID-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, while it may have slowed them down, it didn’t quite stop Hollywood from making great movies, all of which will be celebrated on April 25 at the 93rd Academy Awards. But as the pandemic led to production delays and cancellations for upcoming projects, many artists had some new time to spare — a topic senior editor Rebecca Keegan raised with a group of acclaimed actresses in this exclusive clip of The Hollywood Reporter‘s last roundtable discussion. And perhaps no one has found a more recognizable obsession with passing the time than actress Kate Winslet.
Speaking alongside Zendaya and Oscar nominees Glenn Close (Hillbilly Elegy), Carey Mulligan (Promising young woman), Andra Day (The United States vs Billie Holiday) and Vanessa Kirby (Pieces of a woman), the ammonite star confessed that her biggest pandemic fix turned out to be quite, well, “boring,” as Winslet puts it. “It’s along the lines of cleaning, and realizing how I became and still am utterly obsessed with sweeping my kitchen floor,” she says.
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Winslet didn’t stop cleaning up though; she became downright preoccupied with making sure every nook and cranny of her home was spotless, admitting that it got “to the point where if there’s even dog hair — and our dog is a golden retriever, so it is blond hair – I have this kind of microscopic view where I can see the dog hair collecting in funny little cracks, like between the dishwasher and the sink. And I’ll say, ‘There’s dog hair. Quick somebody, give me the broom, give me the broom!’ I just became obsessed with it.”
Locating your inner neat freak while cooped up at home is hardly an extraordinary consequence of the pandemic. But Winslet says what made this custom so strange is that it came out of the blue. “I didn’t really care about that sort of thing before,” she admits. “Don’t get me wrong, I like running a nice house. But sweeping the kitchen floor? I mean, who cares about that?” That’s why she admits she’s “got a little weird about the kitchen floor, and I didn’t know that about myself before.” So I see that as an interesting, insightful thing that I’ve learned about myself as a matriarch, which is quite a nuisance.
Winslet isn’t alone in cleaning up during the pandemic. Mulligan quickly jumped in, saying: “Something in what Kate said resonated. I became obsessed with cobwebs and found them all and shut them down. So my duster and I had a busy six months.” Close also sat up and said that her kitchen is now very clean, as is her bedroom. “I think my surprise is how nice it is to make my bed every day,” she chuckles.
Not everyone was as productive as Winslet, Mulligan and Close during their unexpected downtime. For example, Day discovered that motivating to put projects and chores on the back burner is easier said than done. “I always said, if I had more time, if I was home more often, I’d get this done, and I’d do this. And then I turned around, months later in the pandemic, and I said, “Oh, I still didn’t,” Day laughs. Kirby and Zendaya, on the other hand, just liked not being busy all day, which led to the kind of introspection — and consideration of priorities — that wouldn’t normally be possible with their insane work schedules.
Whether one of these great actresses clears the Oscars won’t be known until April 25. But you can hear all about their pandemic experiences in the exclusive The Hollywood Reporter round table clip above.
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