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Naomi Watts Oscar plan
Naomi Watts and Tom Holland in The Impossible.

It is ironic that Naomi Watts will step out of a limousine on Hollywood Boulevard on Monday (AEDT) in a designer gown and dripping with jewels, then walk down hundreds of metres of red carpet before entering the Dolby Theatre for the 85th Academy Awards.

It is the world's most glamorous walk.

To get the invite to the Dolby Theatre and earn the second Oscar nomination of her career, Watts had anything but a glamorous walk.

For weeks, Watts, playing a tsunami survivor in The Impossible, had to trudge through deep mud in fields constructed in Thailand to replicate a disaster zone.

Watts, 44, didn't complain about the knee-deep mud.

She loved it because it helped her become Maria Belon, the Spanish doctor and mother whose terrifying survival story in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami is told in The Impossible.

"You would walk out on to those sets in Thailand in the middle of nowhere and see the set stretch for miles and miles and the level of detail was just mind-blowing," Watts, speaking at another glamour event, the recent Oscar Nominees luncheon in Beverly Hills, said.

"We were walking through these mud pools.

"It was great for us, even if the camera didn't catch it.

"As an actor you put on a wig, you choose the dialect or voice and clothes and everything, that helps you get close to the character.

"I would have to say this is the first time the production design has really made me feel like I'm well rooted into the character as well."

It is almost a decade since Watts first walked an Oscar red carpet as a nominee for 21 Grams.

And while for both nominations she played a grief-stricken mother, almost every aspect of Watts' personal life has changed.

In 2004, Watts was hand-in-hand with her on-again, off-again, boyfriend Heath Ledger.

On Monday, Watts will be supported by longtime partner, American actor Liev Schreiber, and the couple has two sons - five-year-old Sasha and four-year-old Samuel.

She has also picked up a few tricks along the way.

In 2004, she did not know what to expect from Oscar night, when, as predicted, Charlize Theron claimed the best actress Academy Award for playing a serial killer in Monster.

"Breathe. This time around I'll breathe," Watts, when asked what she will do this time that she didn't do in 2004, told AAP.

"And nuts. I'll have some nuts to eat in my handbag. It's a long day and you get quite hungry."

The campaign for Oscar glory has also been a long one for the British-born, Australian-raised actress, with principal photography on The Impossible beginning in August 2010 in Spain before moving on to Thailand.

The world premiere was held on September 20, 2012 at the Toronto Film Festival, a traditional launching pad by movie studios aiming at the Academy Awards.

Watts was immediately pencilled in as a best actress candidate after Toronto and successfully picked up Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominations in December, but she was not confident Academy voters would honour her with another nomination.

"I'm proud of the film and it has been a long journey, but I've really enjoyed the experience," Watts, reflecting on the Oscar campaign, said.

"I can't say anything negative because it is such a great thing, but it is a lot of stress.

"There's such a long time leading up to it and so much talk, that you are afraid to disappoint not only yourself, but everybody around you."