Getting nominated for an Oscar is a big deal. But gettingnominated for an Oscar when you're still a virtually-unknown young actress juststarting out in Hollywood? That's a HUGE deal. An Oscar nomination is asurefire way to be catapulted to superstardom. Case in point: Rooney Mara, BestActress Oscar nominee this year for her awesome work in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. A year ago most people had neverheard her name -- and now she's one of the most sought-after actresses in Hollywood.Check out our list of some other lesser-known starlets who got ushered into theA-list by Oscar himself.
20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence became the second-youngestactress ever to get a Best Actress nomination when she received the nod for herwork in the 2010 drama Winter's Bone.Suddenly, the previously-unknown actress was a household name and started beingcast in high-profile roles like Mystique in X-Men:First Class and Katniss Everdeen in what is sure to be a ginormous boxoffice hit, The Hunger Games. I bet whileshe was kissing Josh Hutcherson during filming, she was thanking her luckystars for that Oscar nom!
It's not often actors get nominated for Oscars for thefirst role they ever play. But that's exactly what happened to Gabourey Sidibe,who was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for playing the title role in Precious. She was so amazing in thatfilm that many people (myself included) maintain that she should have won. Precious may have been Gabby's actingdebut, but after her nomination, she started getting a lot more work, includinga hosting gig on Saturday Night Live,a featured role in the major studio film TowerHeist (opposite Eddie Murphy and Ben Stiller), and a recurring role on theShowtime series The Big C.
The whole world fell in love with Ellen Page when sheportrayed pregnant 16-year-old Juno in the movie that shares her character'sname. Juno was smart, cool, quirky, and incredibly level-headed about thesituation she was in, and, thanks in large part to Page, the character will godown in history as one of the most awesome movie characters ever. Since Juno, Page hasn't stopped working –she's played everything from a wanna-be roller derby-er in Whip It to a dream architect in Inception.
Catalina Sandino Moreno was catapulted to internationalfame in 2004 when she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar for playing the titlerole in Maria Full of Grace, about apregnant-teen-turned-drug-mule. Since then, the gorgeous bilingual actress haslanded roles in several major films, including Fast Food Nation and Love inthe Time of Cholera. She also totally played Maria, the evil vampire whoturned Jasper into a vampire and then made him train and kill her newborn army,in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.
Just four years after making her film debut at the age of20 in Pride and Prejudice, CareyMulligan was nominated for the 2009 Best Actress Oscar for An Education. In the few short years that have passed since then,Mulligan has become a major filmstar, starring in such films as Never LetMe Go, Drive, and Shame. She was also hand-picked bydirector Baz Luhrmann to play the coveted role of Daisy Buchanan in the 2012remake of The Great Gatsby. Carey asDaisy is genius casting, and I predict she'll receive her second Oscarnomination for that film.
After being nominated for a Tony Award at the young ageof 12, Anna Kendrick kind of fell off the map for a while. Ten years later, shegained the attention of critics and casting directors alike when she played thesmall-but-memorable role of Jessica Stanley in Twilight, which led to her being cast opposite George Clooney inthe 2009 Best Picture nominee Up in theAir. Though she didn't win the Best Supporting Actress award, she won in alot of other ways – suddenly, Anna wasn't just "that girl from Twilight" anymore, she was alegitimate, skilled actress. After giving stellar performances in Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World and 50/50, Anna will next be seen in What to Expect When You're Expecting,opposite some of Hollywood's most famous leading ladies.
It's hard to remember a time when we didn't know who KateWinslet was. She's been in dozens of highly-acclaimed films and is the youngestperson ever to receive six – yes, six– Oscar nominations. Her first one was in 1995 for her portrayal of MarianneDashwood in Sense and Sensibility,and since then she has been nominated for Titanic,Iris, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Little Children, and TheReader (the latter of which she actually won!) Looks like Kate's following inthe footsteps of 17-time Oscar nominee Meryl Streep. Not too shabby.
Anne Hathaway spent her late teens and early twentiesacting in fun (but not exactly Oscar-worthy) films such as The Princess Diaries and EllaEnchanted. But then she started taking more dramatic roles and wasnominated for a Best Actress Oscar in 2008 for her work in Rachel Getting Married. Now she's one of Hollywood's mostsought-after actresses. In fact, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts andSciences loves her so much that they bestowed her with the honor of hosting theOscar broadcast last year! So few people get to host the Oscars that it's inmany ways an even more prestigious honor than winning the award itself!
Who are your favorite Oscar ingenues?
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