Most Known For: “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Kids Are All Right,” “Lawless”
Snubbed For: “Tracks,” “Only Lovers Left Alive”
Young Australian actress Mia Wasikowska has amassed a pretty solid resume thus far in her young career. She’s starred with a number of Oscar-nominated individuals, but that Oscar luck has yet to find Wasikowska. After a strong 2014 Wasikowska is heading into her prime and is expected to have a number of shots at an Oscar nom, but what performances has she already given that deserved more attention? Let’s take a look.
Wasikowska made her feature film debut just eight years ago in 2007 with a couple of Australian films, but made her Hollywood debut in Edward Zwick’s WWII film “Defiance” as Jamie Bell’s wife. Her breakout wouldn’t truly come though until 2010, when she got to have her cake and eat it too as the title character in a billion dollar blockbuster and a key role in an Oscar-nominated film.
First off, Wasikowska starred as Alice in Tim Burton’s “Alice in Wonderland,” which would go on to gross over a billion worldwide. However, despite being the central character, it was Johnny Depp’s Mad Hatter who was on every poster, limiting Wasikowska’s exposure. It was okay though, because she would really grab attention for playing the daughter of Annette Bening and Juliane Moore in “The Kids Are All Right.”
Bening, Moore and Mark Ruffalo took the lions share of the praise – with Bening and Ruffalo earning Oscar nominations – but Wasikowska gave a strong performance as the child, along with fellow break-out Josh Hutcerhson, of a lesbian couple looking to connect with her de-facto father. Wasikowska’s lone recognition from the film would be from SAG as part of the nominated Best Ensemble.
Wasikowska would follow up that performance with roles alongside Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs,” as literary heroine Jane Eyre in Cary Fukunaga’s adaptation of the Charlotte Bronte tome, as well as in films like “Lawless” and “Stoker.” But it was this past year where she gave some of her best work.
In “Only Lovers Left Alive” Tom Hiddleston and Tilda Swinton’s vampires warn of Swinton’s younger sister Ava as an ill guest throughout the film’s first half, so the bar for Wasikowska’s character was already raised. She wound up meeting it as she made Ava a manipulative vixen. Her time on screen might have been short, but it was another great part of this extremely underrepresented film, though it would have been an uphill battle for a nomination.
The more likely of her 2014 performances to garner attention was “Tracks.” Wasikowska starred in the true story of Robyn Davidson and her 1,700-mile trek across the deserts of Australia. Wasikowska carries the film successfully, but she couldn’t beat out Reese Witherspoon’s similar tale from “Wild.” Wasikowska would have to settle for a Gotham nomination for Best Actress.
Wasikowska looks to just keep on moving though. She will next be seen co-starring once again with Julianne Moore in David Cronenberg’s “Maps to the Stars,” though Moore’s performance seems to be the biggest takeaway from that film. Wasikowska also has Guillermo Del Toro’s “Crimson Peak” set for this year as well as “Madame Bovary.”
Wasikowska remains relatively under the radar despite a very solid resume to date. Perhaps “Crimson Peak” or “Madame Bovary” ends up being her breakout role, or heck, maybe even a dark horse chance at an Oscar later this year, but her trajectory is only going up, so expect her to be knocking on Oscar’s door sooner or later.
“Maps to the Stars” opens in limited theaters on Friday, Feb. 27.