In Your Ear: Oscar-Winning Actress Hilary Swank

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The film industry is getting ready to roll out its red carpet for the Academy Awards this weekend. So, this week, Tell Me More is sampling the musical tastes of its Oscar-winning guests. Today, two-time Best Actress award winner, Hilary Swank shares her favorite songs for the program's "In Your Ear" series.


Finally, we end the program today with a feature we call In Your Ear. That's where we ask some of our guests to share the songs that inspire them. This week, as Hollywood prepares for Academy Awards on Sunday, we have a special series of In Your Ears from some of our Oscar-winning guests.

Today, we're featuring two-time best actress-winner Hilary Swank. Her first prize came with her breakout performance in the 1999 film "Boys Don't Cry." She literally fought for her second award as a boxer in the 2004 film "Million Dollar Baby." Swank spoke with us recently about her 2010 film "Conviction," and she also told us about her favorite music.

Ms. HILARY SWANK (Actress): I'm Hilary Swank, and I always listen to Van Morrison because he's my favorite. So that's kind of my staple.

(Soundbite of song, "Full Force Gale")

Mr. VAN MORRISON (Singer, Songwriter): (Singing) Like a full-force gale, I was lifted up again. I was lifted up again by the Lord.

Ms. SWANK: I'm a fan of everything that he's done. I like all his old stuff, up to his new stuff.

(Soundbite of song, "Soul")

Mr. MORRISON: (Singing) Soul is your station for the folk of your nation, something that you wear with pride. Soul can be your vision or something that is hidden. It's not something that you got to hide.

Ms. SWANK: On the flight to New York City yesterday, I was listening to Chopin. I find the music to be very calming, meditative, and it helps me get inspired.

(Soundbite of music)

Ms. SWANK: Another artist that comes to mind that I was introduced to a few months ago was Estelle, who I like to workout to. I'm a big fan of exercising, and the music definitely helps take you there.

(Soundbite of song, "American Boy")

ESTELLE (Singer, Songwriter, Rapper): (Singing) He said, hey, sister. It's really, really nice to meet you. I just met this five-foot-seven guy who's just my type. I like the way he's speaking, his confidence is peaking. Don't like his baggy jeans, but I'm a like what's underneath them. And no, I ain't been to MIA. I heard that Cali never rains and New York heart awaits. First, let's see the West End. I'll show you to my brethren..

MS. Swank: Estelle says take me to LA no, I can't sing. I'm not a singer.

(Soundbite of song, "American Boy")

ESTELLE: (Singing) American Boy. Take me on a trip, I'd like to go some day. Take me to New York, I'd love to see L.A. I really want to come kick it with you. You'll be my American Boy. American Boy.

MARTIN: That was actress Hilary Swank, telling us what's playing in her ear. To listen to our conversation about her latest film "Conviction," please check out our website. Just go to and select TELL ME MORE from the Program page.

And that's our program for today. I'm Michel Martin, and you've been listening to TELL ME MORE, from NPR News.

Let's talk more tomorrow.

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