Marcia Gay Harden will pay a very special tribute to her dead niece AUDREY if she picks up a second OSCAR next month (FEB04).

The star has been nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role as Tim Robbins' wife in harrowing drama Mystic River, but she admits the honour has been tinged by tragedy.

Little Audrey Gay Harden and her brother and mother lost their lives in a house fire just before Christmas (DEC03), and her aunt insists her nomination couldn't have come at a better time.

She says, "It's a dark jewel in what has been a very dark season for my family.

"I hope I feel little Audrey's angel there with me. I can only think about how my niece would have just been so proud. I wish she was here.

"She wanted to be an actress and she was about to eclipse us all before she met this tragedy."

Meanwhile, Harden, who is seven months pregnant with her second child, is determined to make it to the Oscars on 28 February (04).

29/01/2004 18:09