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The Piano's Forte: It's Leading Ladies

Holly Hunter, right, had a comeback when asked why she liked the role that brought her the best actress honor. "A crippling question," the best-actress winner said. "Makes me want to revert to my character." She played a mute woman. "'The Piano' is something I'll have with me for the rest of my life. It's been integrated into me and I think it changed my proffessional life and personal life. This is a great peice of recognition from my peers."

Anna Paquin (best supporting actress), all of 11 years old and the youngest Oscar-winning actor, charmed the backstage media with a wide grin, several nervous giggles and a lot of answers such as "Not really," "I don't know" and "I wouldn't have a clue." (Tatum O'neal was the youngest winner for 1973's "Paper Moon.") She pronounced the whole Oscar experience as being "pretty cool." As for Sunday's 5.3 aftershock, she displayed the calm of an earthquake veteran. "I was here for the last one as well," she said. The Wellington, New Zealand, resident was only 9 when The Piano was shot.

She just wasn't up for a big show Monday night, said New Zealand filmmaker Jane Campion, whose screenplay for "The Piano" won her an Oscar. "I'm so relieved the evening's over. I didn't even want to get in the car to get here. But, I got here and it's been fun. It was so thrilling for me when Anna (Paquin) won (for best supporting actress.) It turned the whole thing around. She thought it was jolly that she and Paquin and Holly Hunter (best actress) all won. "When you share it, it's more fun."

The Orange County Register, March 24, 1994