Just before Kathy Bates won the Academy Award for her portrayal of a demented fan in the movie "Misery," she felt cool, in control. But when they called out her name, she simply "froze."

Before she went to the Oscar ceremony Monday, she said in an interview, everyone around her was nervous."The hairdressers, the makeup people, my agent, my boyfriend," she said. "I only remember that I began to feel strangely calm and confident.

"That even-keel state lasted right up to the moment they announced the nominees for best actress. Then I thought - the way your life is supposed to flash before you - about being 42 and being compared with big stars like Meryl Streep and Joanne Woodward. There was no way."

A few moments later, "I thought I heard my name. I think I froze, but there I was. This thing had actually happened."

Bates, a 1966 graduate of White Station High School in Memphis, faced stiff competition - besides Streep, a nine-time Oscar nominee, and Woodward, the nominees were Anjelica Huston and Julia Roberts.