Has any actress lived through a more dramatic rags-to-revenge scenario than Jennifer Hudson? Booted off American Idol in 2004, Hudson, 25, went low-profile. Around May 2005, she had her first audition for Dreamgirls' Effie, belt-it-out lead singer in a Supremes-style trio who gets kicked out when she proves too zaftig, too fractious, and too ethnic-looking. Twice, Hudson says, she was told she was out of the running, but in November 2005, she got called for a screen test. A week later, she was cast. ''I celebrated for about 10 minutes, and then it hit me,'' she says. ''I needed to focus.'' Now she's celebrating again, with a Golden Globe and great reviews, especially for showstopper, ''And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going.'' No, Simon Cowell, she's not. Steve Daly
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Take a closer look at Jennifer Hudson, Eddie Murphy, Cate Blanchett, and the other nominees for Best Supporting Actor/Actress