Golden Globes nominee Maria Bello took an online public speaking course in a bid to conquer her fear of making awards show acceptance speeches.

The actress realised she'd have to face up to her fears when she found out she was to receive the New York Film Critics Best Actress Award for her part in hit film HISTORY OF VIOLENCE earlier this month (JAN06).

And, after panicking about her acceptance speech, she found an Internet site, www.speakingwithoutfear.com, which promised to help her with her phobia.

She explains, "Here's me, for a week, talking to a college student on the phone, trying to figure out how to accept this award for acting.

"He promises me that when I get up there in New York City... after our conversation, he would just say this: 'This is your belief, now you don't have it any more.' And I'd say, 'Alright.'"

Bello was amazed the plan worked and she sailed through the New York awards show.

But she was still quaking in her designer shoes at the Golden Globes last night (16JAN06) while the Best Actress nominees were read out because she was the one nominee who really didn't want to win.

She adds, "Cut to the Broadcast Critics Award (09JAN06); I had to read this little prompter and introduce someone, and I was an idiot again, so I think I need my money back."