Page last updated at 05:51 GMT, Monday, 8 March 2010
Oscar nominations 2010

In her first dramatic role, comedian Mo'Nique has won best actress for her portrayal of an abusive mother in Precious.

Here is her profile with her fellow nominees.

Mo'nique is better known as a comedienne and chat show host

Age: 42

Nominated for: Precious

The character: Mary is the abusive mother of Claireece Precious Jones who turns a blind eye to the sexual abuse she endures from her father.

Previous Oscar wins: None

Previous Oscar nominations: None

She said: "It was mind-blowing when it was over, to have white men in their 60s coming up to us, crying. It killed the myth. It killed the myth that a white man couldn't possibly enjoy two big black women on screen."

What the critics said: "In her first dramatic role, the comedian Mo'Nique acts with such force that she burns a hole in the screen. Her Mary is raging and defeated, a woman who treats Precious as a slave - and I don't use the word lightly." Entertainment Weekly

Trivia: Mo'Nique says she will walk down the Oscars red carpet thinking solely of Hattie McDaniel, the first black actress to win an Academy Award.

Vera Farmiga
Farmiga's previous films include The Departed and Orphan

Age: 36

Nominated for: Up In The Air

The character: Alex Goran is a high-flying executive who forms a relationship with George Clooney's Ryan Bingham, forcing him to reappraise his bachelor bachelor lifestyle.

Previous Oscar wins: None

Previous Oscar nominations: None

She said: "I'm excited to be a part of a film that might be successful, that people might actually go see. Oftentimes, the roles and projects that I commit to somehow get dealt a strange hand of cards, and oftentimes don't get a life except on DVD."

The Critics said: "This is her breakout performance. She's combustibly smart and sexy, and her sparring with [George] Clooney is classic." Rolling Stone

Trivia: The actress returned to work just two months after giving birth to her son Finn in order to begin filming Up In The Air.

Maggie Gyllenhaal and Jeff Bridges
Gyllenhaal married actor Peter Sarsgaard last May

Age: 32

Nominated for: Crazy Heart

The character: After journalist Jean Craddock interviews musician Otis Blake, their relationship becomes deeper and she begins to discovers the real man behind the music.

Previous Oscar wins: None

Previous Oscar nominations: None

She said: "I think it's my favourite film I've made. It is a little movie that is really about things, that's complicated. They don't make them like that any more."

The Critics said: "She is excellent, bringing warmth and believability to a character who could have been a cipher in lesser hands." Empire

Trivia: Maggie and brother Jake Gyllenhaal are the first brother and sister to be Oscar-nominated in the 21st century.

Anna Kendrick
Kendrick is the youngest nominee in the acting categories this year

Age: 24

Nominated for: Up In The Air

The character: When Natalie Keener develops a cost-saving system that allows staff in remote locations to be fired over the internet, Ryan Bingham (George Clooney) takes her on the road to show her the human side of making people redundant.

Previous Oscar wins: None

Previous Oscar nominations: None

She said: "He is amazing to work with. If you'd told me how much I was going to end up making fun of George Clooney on this set, I probably wouldn't have believed you."

What the critics said: "The ferocious Ms Kendrick, her ponytail swinging like an axe, grabs every scene she's in, which works for her go-getter (go-get-him) character." The New York Times

Trivia: Director Jason Reitman admits he actually wrote the role for her after seeing her in High School debate society comedy Rocket Science.

Penelope Cruz
Cruz is the only actress in the category to already have an Oscar

Age: 35

Nominated for: Nine

The character: Cruz plays Carla Albanese, the sexpot mistress to film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis)

Previous Oscar wins: One (for Vicky Cristina Barcelona 2008)

Previous Oscar nominations: One

She said: "The musical number had to be sexy, and thinking about the Pink Panther would help me get into the mood. When I was climbing the ropes to the ceiling, all I could think about was the Pink Panther."

The Critics said: "By far the most crassly erotic performance goes to Cruz, who as Guido's mistress sings an ode to carnality using two ropes as the rough analogue to a stripper's pole." The Washington Post

Trivia: Nine was the first movie in which Cruz sang professionally, making her all the more nervous when it came to filming her number, A Call From The Vatican.

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