Friends Sidibe, Mulligan among 12 Oscar first-timers

Tue Feb 2, 2010 3:50pm EST
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - One of the first things Gabourey Sidibe did on Tuesday morning was to send a congratulatory text message to Carey Mulligan.

Both young women were among 12 actors experiencing the thrill of their first Oscar nominations on a coveted list that sees newcomers to the Academy Awards make up more than half of the chosen few.

Sidibe, 26, and Mulligan, 24, along with "Up in the Air" best supporting actress contender Anna Kendrick, 24, are also the youngest of the bunch.

And although their backgrounds and movie roles could hardly be more different, Sidibe and Mulligan have become firm friends in a hectic couple of months of red carpets, glitzy dinners and meeting Hollywood stars that were a distant dream a year ago.

"I can't tell you how far from reality this feels. It is completely bizarre," said Mulligan, the British actress who plays a London school girl in the low-budget, coming-of-age movie "An Education".

"It was the furthest thing I imagined when I did the job because it was my first movie (as a lead actress)...and we struggled to get financing and distribution," she said.

Sidibe was a New York receptionist before being plucked from obscurity to play an obese, abused Harlem teenager, who is twice impregnated by her father in "Precious: Based on the novel 'Push' by Sapphire."

Both movies first gained attention at the 2009 Sundance festival and are now also nominated for a best picture Oscar.   Continued...