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Jennifer Lawrence: Oscar nominee hungry for spotlight

Youth Impact Report 2011: Bigscreen Kids

Impact: Earned an Oscar nom for “Winter’s Bone,” followed by notable supporting roles in “X-Men: First Class,” “The Beaver” and “Like Crazy.”
Next: “The Hunger Games,” horror-romance “House at the End of the Street” and David O. Russell’s “The Silver Linings Playbook.”

This year opened for Lawrence with a host of accolades, from critics’ awards to an actress Oscar nom for her role in “Winter’s Bone.” If that wasn’t enough to jumpstart the Kentucky-bred newcomer’s career, Lawrence won the much-coveted role of Katniss Everdeen in Lionsgate’s “Hunger Games” adaptation, directed by Gary Ross. The announcement made Lawrence a household name, particularly among fans of the young-adult bestseller.

Lawrence beat out scores of talented rising stars for the part, from fellow Oscar nominees Hailee Steinfeld and Saoirse Ronan to Abigail Breslin and Chloe Moretz. Despite fan grumblings that Lawrence was too old to play the 16-year-old protagonist, Ross said her audition “was so amazingly powerful that it was sort of stunning.”

“I absolutely cast the right person for the role,” Ross told Entertainment Weekly. “It was the easiest casting decision I ever made in my life.”

While shooting “Hunger Games,” Lawrence appeared opposite James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in “X-Men: First Class” and with Mel Gibson in Jodie Foster’s “The Beaver.” But as career-changing as 2011 has been, the 2012 release of “Games” could transform Lawrence into a pop-culture phenomenon on the level of “Harry Potter” star Daniel Radcliffe or “Twilight’s” Kristen Stewart.

“I knew that as soon as I said yes, my life would change,” she told Entertainment Weekly. “And I walked around an entire day thinking ‘It’s not too late, I could still go back and do indies, I haven’t said yes yet, it’s not too late.'”