As part of America Online's three-year-old Celeb Candids charitable initiative, Oscar nominees Kate Winslet, Laura Linney and Catalina Sandino Moreno gamely agreed to share behind-the-scenes peeks as they prepared for the red carpet. In return for their participation, AOL will make a donation to Project Angel Food, a Los Angeles-based organization that delivers meals to people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other illnesses. (To see more of the celebs' candids, log onto www.moviefone.com.)
You might think a personal hairdresser, makeup artist and gown made to order would make getting ready a cinch, but "it was all very stressful," says Best Actress nominee Kate Winslet of her pre-Oscar routine. After an apparently dis-tressing experience with her hairstylist (1), the British beauty applied cosmetic patches to reduce swelling under her eyes (4), followed by makeup (2, 5). Even her periwinkle Badgley Mischka gown got a last-minute touch-up from her stylists (3). Presumably, Winslet had more fun consulting with jeweler Neil Lane, who custom-designed her diamond dazzlers, including earrings with 5-carat drops and dramatic S-clips for her hair. (Nope, Winslet didn't get to keep the bling.) "I can't remember the last time I had a massage," says the mother of two, who is married to director Sam Mendes. "There's no time."
CATALINA SANDINO MORENO
"I wanted to feel comfortable and beautiful," says the Colombian newcomer, who took a laid-back approach to primping at the Four Seasons Hotel (1, 5). Makeup artist Troy Jensen (2) and boyfriend David Elwell (4) were simpatico. Clients "are totally relaxed when they're lying down," says Jensen. "It allows me to paint the colors on while they're feeling at ease." Sandino Moreno (3, with grandmother Marina Guaqueta de Moreno, middle, and mom Martha Moreno de Sandino) lost in the Best Actress category, but had she won, "I would have thanked my mother and David," she says. "They have been my biggest supporters—they told me to keep breathing through all of this."
Easy did it for second-time nominee Laura Linney, who started the day on firm footing in her L.A. home with beau Marc Schauer (1). The inspiration for her slicked-back do—being styled by Myles Haddad (2, 3)—"was me throwing my fingers through my hair, but like four steps up," she says. Dressed in a feathered J. Mendel gown she described to an AP reporter as "profoundly comfortable," Linney took a limo to the ceremony (4). Hours later she was ready to shed her Jimmy Choos and chill. "I can't wait to put on my pajamas," she said at an afterparty, "and kick up my feet."