CATEGORIES Fall Movies, Oscars
Despite having only two previous, supporting feature film roles to her name ('Pride & Predjudice' and 'When Did You Last See Your Father?') before landing the lead in tjhe coming-of-age drama 'An Education,' the spry 24-yr-old Carey Mulligan has become an odds-on favorite to pick up an Oscar nod in the Best Actress category when the nominations are announced on the morning of Feb 2.

After making a splash at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival with her astute portrayal of the naively precocious schoolgirl Jenny, Mulligan has ignited a frenzy of Oscar talk, with critics noting her stand-out performance as "remarkably nuanced" and "star-making." Roger Ebert wrote in his review, "You're pretty sure this is the birth of a star.
Despite having only two previous, supporting feature film roles to her name ('Pride & Predjudice' and 'When Did You Last See Your Father?') before landing the lead in the coming-of-age drama 'An Education,' the spry 24-yr-old Carey Mulligan has become an odds-on favorite to pick up an Oscar nod in the Best Actress category when the nominations are announced on the morning of Feb 2.

After making a splash at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival with her astute portrayal of the naively precocious schoolgirl Jenny, Mulligan has ignited a frenzy of Oscar talk, with critics noting her stand-out performance as "remarkably nuanced" and "star-making." Roger Ebert wrote in his review, "You're pretty sure this is the birth of a star.

Lone Scherfig's film is a beautifully rendered portrait of pre-Swinging '60s London. In it, the well-studied, and wise-beyond-her-years, Jenny leaves her books behind to venture down a more adventurous, non-conformist path with a crafty older gentleman and, in so doing, challenges society's pre-conceived notions of how a teenage girl should experience the world.

Jenny is clearly a juicy role, and the Academy is always hankering to anoint the next talented ingénue (think of recent nominees Anne Hathaway, Ellen Page and Keira Knightley). Mulligan undoubtedly fits the bill.

Yes, she is the new kid on the block, and a rookie when it comes to the politically driven Awards season -- having barely garnered any notice as Knightley's younger sister in her debut film 'Pride & Prejudice' (for which Knightley was nominated as Best Actress) .

But Mulligan shines in her breakthrough role, playing Jenny with equal parts headstrong maturity, subtle naïveté and sharp wit; it is a role that runs the gamut of emotions, providing Mulligan an ample stage to show off such beautifully versatile gifts as an actor.

What is miraculous about the positive reception of Mulligan's performance is how it has weathered the storm of time and critics, sustaining the initial acclaim from the January 2009 premiere.

Mark my words: Mulligan will certainly be among the chosen, enviable few in the Best Actress category during the 2010 Oscar season. Well ...provided she is not starring in a poorly executed, wedding-themed rom-com awaiting release before the big day (sorry Anne -- you blew your chances at a win), the coveted Awards-spot is Mulligan's to lose.

'An Education' Movie Trailer