Stars like Meryl Streep, Helen Mirren, George Clooney, and Matt Damon don't have that much to gain from an Oscar nomination. While Sandra Bullock and Jeff Bridges may now command heftier fees and meatier roles, since winning an Oscar, it is newcomers, in particular, whose careers benefit the most from the honor.
Taking advantages of the awards season, the emerging talents from this year's show include several actors and actresses from both the best lead and best supporting categories.
Gabourey Sidibe, the Oscar-nominated star of Precious, who made her screen acting debut and won the independent Spirit Award last Friday, just signed on for a recurring role in a half-hour television series, The Big C. She appeared in the pilot, directed by Bill Condon ( Dreamgirls) for the premium cable channel Showtime. The comedy, which airs late this summer, stars Oscar nominee Laura Linney ( John Adams) and Oliver Platt ( 2012).
Anna Kendrick ( Up in the Air) will return in The Twilight Saga: Eclipse this summer as Bella's best friend, and also appears in Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, a comic-book adaptation about a skater punk-turned-romantic hero with Michael Cera ( Juno). She is also set for a so-far untitled Seth Rogen project with Joseph Gordon-Leavitt of (500) Days of Summer.
Carey Mulligan will be seen in the upcoming sequel Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps with Michael Douglas and The Greatest, opposite Pierce Brosnan and Susan Sarandon, releasing in April. Her other films include Brighton Rock with Helen Mirren, and Never Let Me Go with Kiera Knightley. Though she denies it, she may be considered as Eliza Doolittle in the remake of My Fair Lady, the role Aubrey Hepburn played in 1964.
Jeremy Renner, Christoph Waltz and Vera Farmiga are not new to acting. After years in smaller parts or television, they are now up for starring roles in high-profile films.
Renner will be in Ben Affleck's upcoming The Town with Mad Men's Jon Hamm and The Raven with Ewan McGregor about Edgar Allen Poe. The latest news claims he is in discussions about Battleship with director Peter Berg ( Hancock), and rumors are circulating about him joining the all-star superhero adventure, The Avengers, as Hawkeye/Clint Barton. The cast includes Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark, Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow/Natasha Romanoff, and more.
Farmiga has been approached by Madonna about W.E., a movie the singer is writing and directing about playing Wallis Simpson, the American who married the King of England. She is also scheduled for Source Code with Jake Gyllenhaal, a sci-fi story directed by Duncan Jones (BAFTA winner for Moon).
Christoph Waltz, a 40-year-old Austrian actor is now starring in Water For Elephants with Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattinson, and turning down other roles. He will also play the villain in Michel Gondry's The Green Hornet with Seth Rogen. And he may direct Up, Up and Away for 20th Century Fox Germany.