fter starring in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, Rooney Mara managed to land a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance in the violent film adaptation of a cult-smash novel. Can Jennifer Lawrence do the same with The Hunger Games? At this point we have no real idea of what her potential competition could be, but I’d say it’s not out of the question. After all, Lawrence has already caught the Academy’s eye thanks to her breakout turn in the 2010 Sundance hit Winter’s Bone. And The Hunger Games has become an instant hit with both audiences and critics. In her review of Hunger Games, my colleague Lisa Schwarzbaum said that Lawrence “is, in her gravity, her intensity, and her own unmannered beauty, about as impressive a Hollywood incarnation of Katniss as one could ever imagine… Lawrence is expressive in her stillness, and moves with athletic confidence.”
The main question is whether Lawrence’s buzz can last all the way through early next year. A Best Actress nomination from a March release isn’t unheard of — there’s Kate Winslet for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Julia Roberts in Erin Brockovich, and Frances McDormand in Fargo — but it’s certainly the exception to the rule. If she pulls off a nomination next January, Lawrence (who’ll be 22 by that time) will be the youngest two-time Best Actress nominee ever. Winslet, meanwhile, was also 22 when she scored her second career nod (for Titanic), but her first Academy recognition, for Sense & Sensibility, was in the supporting category. So while it’s super early to say the least, we may find ourselves talking about Katniss long after The Hunger Games is gone from theaters.