Film newcomer Catalina Sandino Moreno is still in shock following her Best Actress OSCAR nomination for MARIA FULL OF GRACE - because she thought the movie was only ever destined for TV broadcast.

The actress - who left her native Columbia to live in New York - remains "in total disbelief" to be competing with established stars Annette Bening, Kate Winslet and Hilary Swank for the prestigious prize at this year's (05) event, admitting she never expected her debut screen performance to result in such public acclaim.

And Moreno - who plays a drug smuggler in the HBO-produced film - is struggling to comprehend how a made-for-TV project has attracted so much attention.

Recalling the moment she learned of her nomination, she says, "It was a mixture of everything. I was talking to my mother, I had my boyfriend right beside me. I was watching my face and my name. It was so unreal - a total disbelief that it's happening. It's just unreal. This is unreal! This can't be happening!

"When I heard that HBO was going to be producing it, I thought it was going to be on HBO, the channel. And I was so happy because my mother had cable and I was like, 'Oh my God, Mom, we can see it on HBO! We can just lay here in bed and watch it.'

"I never thought it was going to be released. I never thought it was going to be in festivals, I never thought I or the movie could win something. And everything happened. It was just a dream that I never dreamt."

31/01/2005 09:38