Best Actress nominees 2010

Oscars 2010: Best Supporting Actress nominees

Mo’Nique
*The Frontrunner
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
Age 42
Role Mary Jones, a horrifyingly abusive New York City mother whose white-hot anger toward her teenage daughter (Gabourey Sidibe) masks unspeakable shame. Oscar history First nomination.

Getting into character For the role, the stand-up comedian and TV host shed her typical glamazon persona and explored a far more shady side. ”It was like, ‘Take yourself there and don’t judge it, ”’ she recalls. ”I never judged it.”

Inspirations How did she manage to capture Mary’s incessant negativity? ”If you look at the environment that Mary was in, it was dark, ” she says of her character’s squalid Harlem apartment. ”There was no life. There was no light. It was gloomy, it was damp. So that’s where her energy came from. When she looked around where she sat, what was there to smile about? That’s how I interpreted it.”

Up next She has yet to choose her next feature performance. But she’ll continue to host The Mo’Nique Show, weeknights on BET. —Dave Karger

Vera Farmiga
Up in the Air
Age 36
Role Alex, the sexy, savvy businesswoman who makes George Clooney’s Ryan Bingham reconsider his cynical philosophy on love.
Oscar history irst nomination.

She is woman, watch her soar For director/co-writer Jason Reitman, no one but Farmiga could play Alex. ”She’s a brilliant actress, and I fell in love with her when I saw Down to the Bone, ” he says, citing the 2005 film in which she played a drug-addled mother in a miserable marriage. ”And she’s the only [real] woman out there — the only American woman. There are a few great British and Australian women and there are a lot of girls, but Vera is a woman. I needed someone who could go toe-to-toe with George Clooney. And she was perfect.” How does that praise sit with Farmiga? ”It’s very flattering, ” she says. ”Jason has a tremendous respect for women. I don’t know his mother, but I would really love to meet her!”

Up next Farmiga is currently shooting the romantic comedy Henry’s Crime opposite Keanu Reeves, and will then costar with Jake Gyllenhaal in the sci-fi thriller Source Code, directed by Duncan Jones (Moon). —Missy Schwartz

Anna Kendrick
Up in the Air
Age 24
Role Natalie Keener, a high-strung college grad ready to revamp corporate America, who is forced to reevaluate her priorities after spending time with an older colleague (George Clooney).
Oscar history First nomination.

Getting into character Kendrick may not be as tightly wound as Natalie, but the actress did find a way to relate. ”Natalie has her list of what she expects out of life, and I have mine, ” says Kendrick. ”I know I have just as many rude awakenings ahead of me.”

Learning curve Up in the Air, Kendrick says, was like a master class in acting: ”George is such a technician, and Vera [Farmiga] is like a gymnast. Watching them work was like having front-row seats to the opera.”

Up next The actress will reprise her role as Bella’s self-involved human pal in Eclipse, the third installment in the Twilight series, due June 30. She’ll also appear this summer with Michael Cera in the comic-book adaptation Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, and is about to begin production on I’m With Cancer, in which she’ll play a psychologist opposite James McAvoy and Seth Rogen. —

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