Under the Circuit: Jennifer Aniston

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Most Known For: “Friends,” “Bruce Almighty,” “We’re the Millers”

Snubbed For: “The Good Girl”

Before the recent revolution of Oscar-winners and movie stars leaving the big screen for big roles on TV it was the exact opposite that was hoped for. Many made the jump from TV to film at one point or another, with varying degrees of success. Most notably probably is George Clooney, the “ER” star who is now an Oscar-winning actor and producer, as well as a respected writer and director. But perhaps the next biggest name to make the jump in recent memory is Jennifer Aniston. The “Friends” star, however, has yet to find awards glory like Clooney has.

“Friends” made Aniston a household name and she was often a fixture for TV awards, including winning an Emmy and a Golden Globe for her work. It took a while, however, for Aniston’s film career to get going. Prior to “Friends” her lone film role was in the cult horror film “Leprechaun.” While she starred on the global hit she popped up in more indie flicks than anything else. Her two biggest films were probably “The Iron Giant,” which she provided her voice for, and “Office Space,” another cult hit that didn’t really take off until it was on DVD.

The-Good-Girl-2002-jennifer-aniston-30796029-2560-1716However, stuck in the middle of her “Friends” tenure is what many consider to be her best performance thus far. In 2002 Aniston starred in “The Good Girl;” an indie dramedy from Miguel Arteta and written by Mike White. Aniston holds her own in this film against a pretty stacked cast that includes John C. Reilly, Jake Gyllenhaal, Tim Blake Nelson and a young Zooey Deschanel. It was a complete change of pace for Aniston, as her Justine is a somber and wandering soul caught in an affair with Gyllenhaal’s Holden. Aniston would be nominated for an Indie Spirit Awards and the Online Film Critics Society for Best Actress, but she was never able to overcome the dark horse status that year with the Oscars.

In her post-“Friends” career Aniston has been able to establish her movie star status much more affectively. Unfortunately, for every “Bruce Almighty” and “We’re the Millers” she had a “Wanderlust” or “The Bounty Hunter.”

But the tides may be turning for Aniston on the awards circuit this year. Aniston is harkening back to “The Good Girl” and giving another change of pace performance in “Cake.” As a woman suffering from chronic pain, Aniston’s character begins to look into the death of a woman who was in her support group. Early reviews have praised Aniston’s work. At a recent screening there were members of the audience who said they suffered from chronic pain and that Aniston nailed their struggles in her performance. Talk about good timing to, the first trailer for “Cake” just dropped on Tuesday.

It certainly will be a tough road for Aniston to the Dolby Theater in this little indie, but her timing may be just right as Best Actress is perhaps the most accessible category this year. Four of the five slots seem locked up with Julianne Moore, Felicity Jones, Rosamund Pike and Reese Witherspoon, but that fifth spot is there for the taking and right now no one has come up and claimed it. Aniston is an industry favorite and with this different performance could drum up a strong base of supporters. If she can manage to earn SAG or Golden Globe nominations, watch out.

Unfortunately, if “Cake” doesn’t pan out for Aniston, it may be hard for her to land an Oscar nomination in her career. Nothing against her, but as with many actresses her age, there just aren’t that many great roles out there, as made evident by this year’s crop of potential Best Actress nominees. Hopefully that won’t be the case, but we can only wait and see what the future holds for Jennifer Aniston.

You can catch Aniston in “Horrible Bosses 2,” hitting theaters today. Check out the trailer for “Cake” here.