Oscar newcomer Kendrick is no newcomer, at all

Fri Feb 5, 2010 3:22pm EST
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By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - If the expression slow and steady wins the race is true, then actress Anna Kendrick has finally edged her way to the front of Hollywood's pack of young actresses.

This week, Kendrick, 24, earned a supporting actress Oscar nomination for her work in "Up in the Air," playing a perky young executive out to teach George Clooney's character how to fire people in the modern-day world of computer communication.

The Oscar nod -- her first -- followed her role in November's box office hit "The Twilight Saga: New Moon," and this week Vanity Fair anointed her one of the fresh faces to watch in its annual Hollywood issue.

But the truth is, Kendrick's "fresh face" has been racking up accolades on stage and in independent films for years before she hit the mainstream jackpot with the "Twilight" movies and now "Up in the Air."

Still, this past week's Oscar nomination and the month of awards shows and critical acclaim that came before it have caught Kendrick in a whirlwind of big-time Hollywood publicity that she still can't quite grasp.

"There's always a part of you that's going to feel like a version of yourself that couldn't find a job and you wonder what tricks you pulled to get into the party," Kendrick told Reuters.

While she may not have been in the Oscar "party" before, it's not the first time, Kendrick has won the hearts and minds of critics and fans. At age 12, she was the third youngest Tony Award nominee for her role in Broadway musical "High Society."

Five years later, her singing and dancing wowed audiences in the 2003 musical film "Camp." It was Kendrick's first-ever movie and resulted in an Independent Spirit Award nomination. A second Indie Spirit nod followed with 2007's "Rocket Science."   Continued...

<p>Anna Kendrick from the film "Up in the Air" on the red carpet at the 16th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles, January 23, 2010. REUTERS/Phil McCarten</p>