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Then as now, Winslet competed for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar

By Keisha Hatchett
Updated February 25, 2016 12:15 PM
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Credit: Steve Granitz/WireImage

Remember when Mel Gibson won an Oscar in 1996 for directing Braveheart? That same year, a virtually unknown actress nabbed her first nomination – for Best Supporting Actress – playing opposite Alan Rickman in Ang Lee’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility.

It’s been two decades since Kate Winslet, 40, attended her first Academy Awards, and this year the awards show veteran is nominated in the very same category for her role in Steve Jobs – although it’s safe to say she’ll be a bit less overwhelmed on Sunday than she was 20 years ago.

“There’s no point denying that it’s blown me absolutely away. There’s no point in saying I’m taking it all in my stride,” she said in 1996 ahead of the 68th annual ceremony. “There’s no point in saying, ‘Of course I’ve got my frock’ because I have none of that stuff. I’m all over the place. I’m incredibly nervous. Thank God my mom and dad are gonna be there because otherwise I’m sure I would fall apart at the seams.”

Keeping her seams very much intact, the young Brit made her Oscars red carpet debut with her parents while exuding an old Hollywood vibe in a glamorous pink gown and sparkly diamond necklace.

Although she ultimately lost out to Mira Sorvino for Mighty Aphrodite, she remained all smiles when talking about the effect the nomination has had on her career.

“It certainly has increased the whole fame level and suddenly I’m kind of famous or sort of getting that way,” she told reporters.

Little did she know of the Titanic success headed her way.

Winslet would go on to be nominated an additional six times before winning Best Actress in 2009 for her role in the post-World War II drama The Reader.

But perhaps nothing can compare to her very first Oscars experience – even if she admitted afterward that it was all kind of a blur.

“I haven’t really stopped to think about who won what,” she said. “All I remember is that Braveheart, Braveheart, Braveheart, Braveheart.”

Watch our Live from the Oscars Red Carpet show on PEOPLE.com starting at 5:30 ET/2:30 PT on Feb. 28 – and the 88th Academy Awards at 7 ET/4 PT on ABC. Click here for a handy ballot of this year s Oscar nominees!