She’s an unlikely contender in a sea of fierce competition, but Blue Jasmine‘s Sally Hawkins is not to be ignored. Few can go up against a powerhouse like Cate Blanchett and still remain memorable. But Hawkins, 37, manages to do so without overshadowing the complex film’s focus.
This first-time Oscar nominee may be noted for her role as Ginger, the blue-collar adopted sister of Jasmine (Blanchett), but there’s much more to this actress than meets the eye.
Here are five things to know:
1. She’s a Brit. Australian Cate Blanchett wasn’t the only one who perfected a drastically different accent while filming the Woody Allen flick. Hawkins is London-born and bred, but still managed to effortlessly pull off a thick San Franciscan accent for her role as Ginger.
2. She beat Meryl! At the 2009 Golden Globes, Hawkins bested the likes of Meryl Streep, Emma Thompson, and Frances McDormand by snagging the Best Actress in a Comedy/Musical for her role as the endearingly optimistic Poppy in Mike Leigh’s Happy Go Lucky. And her heartwarming and emotional speech made many, Thompson included, immediately fall in love with her.
3. She’s worked with Woody before. Though Blue Jasmine is often morose and intense, Hawkins’ previous work with the famed writer and director was arguably even darker. She starred in 2007’s Cassandra’s Dream, which features two brothers (played by Colin Farrell and Ewan McGregor) who are driven to murder in order to pay off their debt.
4. She’s not that into fashion. Though she wore a stunning vintage Dior two-piece to the 2014 Golden Globes, Hawkins admits she prefers to keep things casual.
“I’d love to do the Oscars in Topshop vintage, my way. But I’m not allowed,” she told London’s TimeOut.
5. She studied the greats to become great herself. To perfect her American accent, Hawkins revealed to the Wall Street Journal that she closely monitored the work of Julianne Moore and Laura Linney.
“I tried to watch a lot of American TV, lots of HBO, to get a neutral accent first,” she admitted. “I do that anyway, because the best TV is American. Don’t tell the Brits that. But there’s no such thing as a general American accent. Every character has a different accent and tone.”
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