Emmy winner Felicity Huffman (search) got by with a little help from her "Desperate Housewives (search)" friends at the Hollywood premiere of her big-screen headlining debut in "Transamerica." (search)

Screened Sunday night at AFI Fest 2005, the dark comedy appears to be on the Oscar fast-track, with wide praise for Huffman's performance as a transsexual woman.

"It's a funny road movie," Huffman told AP Television News. "And the backdrop happens to be it's about a transgendered woman, which I play, named, 'Bree.' Not Marcia's (Cross's "Housewives" character) 'Bree,' my 'Bree.' And it's about her going on the road with her long-lost son."

As Huffman spoke with the media, her TV costars kept pouring in. Cross, Nicolette Sheridan, Teri Hatcher, James Denton and Doug Savant all made their ways past photographers and reporters before hitting a pre-screening reception. And Eva Longoria was spotted shortly thereafter.

"It's fantastic. I mean, they're so sweet," said Huffman, cutting herself off for a moment to walk over and pal around with Hatcher, who, in turn, joked, "We catfight so much, that we would just come here to ruin your premiere. That's really my goal, really," Hatcher continued, with big laugh.

Huffman, looking gorgeous in a Dolce & Gabbana dress, added, "She (Hatcher) had to get a special babysitter. She had no one to watch her kid, and it's so late. I can tell you, as a mom, how hard that is."

So much for those "Housewives" horror stories, including rumors of animosity toward Huffman following her "Housewives" Emmy win in September.

"I think that's the kind of thing you have to chip away at," observed Denton, who plays Wisteria Lane's hunk plumber. "I think, eventually, people will go, 'Oh, OK, there's no story there.' You know what I mean? Certainly all of our being here isn't gonna make it stop. But you just have to laugh about it and go, 'Eventually, they're going to figure out that they're all pretty good friends.' But it'll take some time, for sure."

No doubt, Huffman's TV-series success has drawn attention to the low-budget "Transamerica," which opens in limited release next month.

But that's just a happy coincidence, according to writer-director Duncan Tucker. "I cast Felicity in this role before 'Desperate Housewives' existed," he explained. "And when I heard that she had to do a TV-series pilot and I was gonna lose her if we didn't get the movie finished really fast, I was thinking, 'Darned TV pilot. Stupid thing. What good is a TV pilot?'"

Huffman's Emmy-winning and Oscar-nominated husband, William H. Macy, served as executive producer of the film, and no doubt is a true fan of his wife's work.

"A lot of times when you do a role like this that is such a high-wire act — she's got a different voice, a different walk," said Macy. "She transformed herself. It's very easy to forget to act. It's all just mimicry. But she acts the bejesus out of this thing."