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The following year she enjoyed box-office success with her role as Rachel Keller in The Ring (2002), the remake of a successful Japanese horror film.She then received nominations at the Academy Awards and the Screen Actors' Guild Awards in the Best Actress categories for her portrayal of Cristina Peck in Alejandro González Iñárritu's neo-noir 21 Grams (2003). Russell's comedy I Heart Huckabees (2004), the 2005 remake of King Kong, the crime-thriller Eastern Promises (2007) and the Tom Tykwer-directed thriller The International (2009).towns on the island of Anglesey in North Wales, where they lived with Watts' maternal grandparents, Nikki and Hugh Roberts, for three years.During this time, Watts attended a Welsh language school, Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni.When I returned to Hollywood, all those people who'd been so encouraging before weren't interested.You take all their flattery seriously when you don't know any better. I get offered some things without auditioning today, but back then they wouldn't even fax me the pages of a script because it was too much of an inconvenience.
In 2000, while David Lynch was expanding the rejected pilot of Mulholland Drive into a feature film, Watts starred alongside Derek Jacobi, Jack Davenport and Iain Glen in the BBC TV film The Wyvern Mystery, an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Sheridan Le Fanu that was broadcast in March of that year.
Knowing that you have something to offer, but not being able to show it, is so frustrating. I auditioned and waited for things I did not have any belief in, but I needed the work and had to accept horrendous pieces of shit." Lynch later said about his selection of Watts, "I saw someone that I felt had a tremendous talent, and I saw someone who had a beautiful soul, an intelligence—possibilities for a lot of different roles, so it was a beautiful full package." Conceived as a pilot for a television series, Lynch shot a large portion of it in February 1999, planning to keep it open-ended for a potential series. Watts recalled thinking at the time, "just my dumb luck, that I'm in the only David Lynch programme that never sees the light of day." Instead, Lynch filmed an ending in October 2000, turning it into a feature film which was picked up for distribution.
The film, which also starred Laura Harring and Justin Theroux, was highly acclaimed by critics and would become Watts' breakthrough.
In 2006, she became a goodwill ambassador for Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, which helps to raise awareness of AIDS-related issues.
She has participated in several fundraisers for the cause, and she is presented as an inaugural member of AIDS Red Ribbon Awards.