"There was a point last week when I felt panic," the 41-year-old actress admits. "I had so much hope and I wanted [the nomination] — and I still want it. But it means something different to me this week because I have [just] seen the film again and I am... so proud of [it].
"If it doesn't happen," Harden adds, "I'll be concentrating on Valentine's Day."
Oscar nominations will be announced Tuesday morning, and insiders see Harden as Pollock's best hope for recognition. The film's director-star, Ed Harris, will likely get bumped in the lead actor slot by Billy Elliot's Jamie Bell.
Regarding her co-star, Harden — who has already won kudos from the New York Film Critics as well as an Independent Spirit Award nod — hopes that "Ed sees them as awards for himself. Because he's able to get that performance and recognition for me, and again it's probably really hard for him to feel that. But I really feel that when someone helps take you someplace, you want them to own a little bit of the good stuff.
"Sometimes you can't let those awards mean too much because they throw you into the space of thinking of acting as a competition, and it's not," she continues. "But by golly, they make you think of it that way. You think, 'Was hers really deserving?' The fact is that they are all deserving, and I think ours is deserving."