Who but Jennifer Lawrence could have played Katniss Everdeen with such an exquisitely calibrated mix of resilience and panic, fierceness and fear? And how many actors could have swung so effortlessly from the blockbuster Hunger Games franchise back to their indie roots? Lawrence's joyfully alive performance in Silver Linings Playbook, as a wounded woman who refuses to apologize for her damage, will likely earn the 22-year-old her second Best Actress Oscar nomination.
But it's not just her rich and varied work that endeared Lawrence to us this year. It was also her unwillingness to transform herself from a bawdy, irreverent goofball into some generic, blandly poised movie star. When asked about her 2012, Lawrence lingers not on the good (her stoic Kentucky daddy's tears after seeing Silver Linings for the first time) or the bad (paparazzi), but the absurd. ''My most humbling moment was when I saw Francis Ford Coppola in Paris at a restaurant,'' she begins. She had just come off a red carpet, and so had removed her high heels under the table, rubbed off all of her eye makeup, and unzipped her dress to make room for some serious eating. ''Basically, I had picked up a garbage can and gone Rawwwwwr! and dumped it all over my head,'' she jokes. Emboldened perhaps by a glass of wine, she decided to go over and introduce herself to Coppola, who was dining with the producers of The Artist. ''So I waddled over there, dress unzipped, makeup everywhere, and I reach over the table and I'm like, 'Hi, I'm a huge fan of your work, I f---ing love you.' I start listing all of his movies that I love.'' This girl can really paint a vivid picture of awkwardness, yes? ''Oh, it gets worse,'' she continues. ''He had no idea who I was and looked really annoyed with me for interrupting dinner. So I quickly drew back my arm, spilled his wine, and went, Sooooorry! And tried to clean up with my dress all open. Then I ran away and he probably thought I was Snooki from Jersey Shore.''