Supporting actress insights


  • Seeking first nomination
  • Came to prominence after appearing on the Fox megahit “American Idol”
  • “Dreamgirls” is her first screen credit
  • Her role, that of Effie White, was originated by Jennifer Holliday


  • One previous nomination: “Casino” (1995)
  • First credited role is as “pretty girl on train” in Woody Allen’s “Stardust Memories” (1980)
  • Won the Miss Pennsylvania beauty contest at age 17
  • Devotes time working on behalf of AIDS-related charity organizations

“Little Children”

  • Seeking first nomination
  • First credit was in “Arthur” (1981)
  • Has appeared on three daytime serials: “One Life to Live,” “The Guiding Light” and “As the World Turns”
  • Has guest-starred on some of the most acclaimed TV copshows in history: “Law & Order,” “NYPD Blue,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” and “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” as well as HBO’s “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos”


  • Seeking first nomination
  • “Babel” is her first movie made for a U.S. studio
  • Was a model before turning to acting at age 15

“Stranger Than Fiction”

  • Five previous nominations: “In the Name of the Father” (1993), “The Remains of the Day” (1993), “Sense and Sensibility” (1995); won for “Howards End” (1992); as writer, “Sense and Sensibility” (1995)
  • The only person to win an Oscar for performing and writing
  • Mother is actress Phyllida Law and father is the late stage director Eric Thompson
  • Attended Cambridge U.
  • Performed with Cambridge’s Footlights Group, where her fellow performers included Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie

“Breaking and Entering”

  • Two previous nominations: “Chocolat” (2000); “The English Patient” (1996)
  • Graduated from Paris’ National Conservatory of Dramatic Art
  • Turned down the female lead role in “Jurassic Park” in order to star in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s “Blue”

“The Departed”

  • Seeking first nomination
  • Born in Passaic, N.J., and is of Ukranian descent
  • Studied acting at Syracuse U. School of Performing Arts, where Taye Diggs was one of her classmates


  • One previous nomination: “Unfaithful” (2002)
  • Has starred in four films directed by Francis Ford Coppola: “Jack,” “The Cotton Club,” “The Outsiders” and “Rumble Fish”
  • Born in New York City
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