Most Known For: “Trainwreck,” “21 Jump Street”
Snubbed For: “Short Term 12”
Over the last few years we’ve seen a number of young actresses establish themselves as the next great leading ladies, with some – like Jennifer Lawrence and Carey Mulligan – earning Oscar nominations in the process. One who has yet to snag a nomination is Brie Larson. However, as early word from Telluride from our own Mark Johnson indicates, that may be changing in the near future.
Larson’s career started like most young actresses, some guest spots on TV shows, a regular role on a couple that didn’t pan out, and some small roles in a handful of films. After she turned 20 things began to change; earning her indie cred with supporting roles in Noah Baumbach’s “Greenberg” and Oren Moverman’s “Rampart,” and a small, almost unrecognizable, but memorable turn in “Scott Pilgrim vs. the World” got the ball rolling. Her name would begin to draw more attention after “21 Jump Street,” her biggest movie up to that point.
2013 was when she truly became a name on the rise. Brief supporting performances in “The Spectacular Now” and “Don Jon” made her a near constant present at the theaters that year, but it was her performance in “Short Term 12” that is still the focal point of her career to date.
There was so much to discover and enjoy in one of the 2013’s hidden gems, whether it be Destin Daniel Cretton in his sophomore effort as a filmmaker or Keith Stanfield and Kaitlyn Dever in excellent supporting turns. But hands down the biggest takeaway from “Short Term 12” is Larson’s amazing performance.
Larson’s Grace is a supervisor at a residential youth treatment facility who must also deal with her own similar issues of a troubled childhood. Larson paints Grace as a strong, almost motherly figure to her kids, but then reveals her to be almost as fragile and afraid as they are. It’s truly incredible work and for my money was the best performance by an actress that year, and likely one of the best performances by an actress under 30 this century. Legends like Judi Dench and Meryl Streep earned Best Actress nominations that year from the Academy, but Larson could and should have been in there to give Cate Blanchett a run for her money.
Since “Short Term 12,” Larson has starred in “The Gambler,” “Digging for Fire” and “Trainwreck,” with the latter being her best of the three. But, as mentioned in the top, she may get another chance to dance with Oscar this year thanks to “Room.” Early word is strong on her performance – as well as her young co-star Jacob Tremblay – so expect a campaign to build rather quickly from A24, which itself is looking to finally land in the Academy’s good graces despite having released some of the best films in the last few years, like “Under the Skin” and “A Most Violent Year.”
As far as talent and star potential goes, Brie Larson has just as much as the aforementioned Lawrence and Mulligan; the only thing that is missing on her resume compared to those two is a nomination. That could change in a little over three months, but if not, expect it to change sooner rather than later, as she seems on a path to be one of Hollywood’s next best leading ladies.