01/08/2014 at 02:10 PM EST
Don't expect Emma Thompson
to complain about the frigid cold weather in New York City.
With the temperature plunging to record lows on Tuesday due to a polar vortex
moving cold air
into the East Coast, she's thankful for her hot flashes, which have been keeping her pleasantly warm and toasty.
"It's such a cold night and it's the only time I've actively been grateful for menopause," Thompson, 54, said at Tuesday's National Board of Review gala while she received the best actress award for her work in Saving Mr. Banks
. "I've been entirely comfortable."
But one thing the British, two-time Oscar winner can't endure is wearing high heels.
"Why do we wear them?" she asked the audience. "They're so painful and pointless, really. I would really like to urge everyone to stop it. Just stop it. Don't wear them anymore."
Thompson is earning rave reviews and Oscar buzz for her performance as prickly Mary Poppins
author P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks
. In a year with so many rich and complex roles for women in Hollywood, Thompson questions all the attention and praise she's been receiving.
"It's been an extraordinary year for women's roles. I can't think what gave me the edge," she said. "It must have been the perm, which was a great sacrifice. It meant no sex [with my husband, British actor Greg Wise] for months on end."