Page last updated at 08:09 GMT, Monday, 23 February 2009
Oscar nominations 2009

Kate Winslet was named best actress at the 81st Academy Awards. Here she is in profile, along with her fellow nominees.


Kate Winslet has already won awards for her role

Age: 33

Nominated for: The Reader

The character: SS guard Hanna Schmitz has an affair with 15-year-old Michael Berg. When the pair next meet, Schmitz is the star defendant in a war crimes trial.

Previous Oscar wins: None

Previous Oscar nominations: Five

Acceptance speech: "I'd be lying if I hadn't made a version of this before I was eight years old and staring into the bathroom mirror and this would be a shampoo bottle. Only it's not a shampoo bottle now."

The critics said: "Kate Winslet's performance heartbreakingly combines passivity and anger." (Time)

She said: "There was literally nothing in my own life that I could draw upon in order to play this part - nothing, nothing, nothing. So, I knew that every day was going to be a bit like climbing a mountain.."

Trivia: Winslet turned down the Shakespeare In Love role that eventually went to Gwyneth Paltrow.


Hathaway's performance is described as 'career-changing'

Age: 26

Nominated for: Rachel Getting Married

The character: Kym has returned home for her sister's wedding. She has a chequered history which brings family tensions to the surface.

Previous Oscar wins: None

Previous Oscar nominations: None

She said: "I wanted the part because I thought: 'What would it be like to have a manipulative streak a mile wide you're completely not aware of?'"

The critics said: "A career-changing performance." (Los Angeles Times)

Trivia: Hathaway was a soprano once said to be in the running for the female lead in The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway.


Jolie plays a woman who takes on the system

Age: 33

Nominated for: Changeling

The character: Christine Collins is a 1920s mother whose son goes missing. The recovery of a boy she insists is not hers leads her to confront Los Angeles police with far-reaching consequences.

Previous Oscar wins: A best supporting actress win for Girl, Interrupted in 2000.

Previous Oscar nominations: None.

She said: "It was so emotional that I found myself just being very, very goofy."

The critics said: "A brilliant performance by Angelina Jolie, a turn that works because she wants you to invest in it and go through her traumas with her, not simply be shown them." (Empire)

Trivia: Jolie appeared in music videos for artists including Meat Loaf and Lenny Kravitz.

Melissa Leo in Frozen River
Melissa Leo also appeared in Oscar-nominated movie 21 Grams

Age: 48

Nominated for: Frozen River

The character: Ray Eddy is a single mother drawn by the lure of making Christmas cash by smuggling across the US and Canada border and befriends a Mohawk woman.

Previous Oscar wins: None

Previous Oscar nominations: None

She said: "By the end of the film she hasn't solved all of her problems, but she is a better human being for it."

The critics said: "She is one of the rare actresses unafraid to look weathered and beaten down and is completely believable in the part of a decent but ill-tempered single mom." (USA Today)

Trivia: Studied at university in New York but did not graduate.


Streep is no stranger to the Oscars

Age: 59

Nominated for: Doubt

The character: Sister Aloysius Beauvier, the iron-willed and traditional principal of a New York Catholic school in the 1960s, who suspects a priest of abusing a black pupil.

Previous Oscar wins: Best actress for Kramer vs Kramer (1979) and Sophie's Choice (1983)

Previous Oscar nominations: 12

She said: "I have a great part of me that's very judgmental and I brought all of that to bear on this character."

The critics said: "Her outsize performance has a whiff of burlesque, but she's really just operating in a different register from the other actors, who are working in the more naturalistic vein of modern movie realism." (New York Times)

Trivia: Has a character in Sesame Street called Meryl Sheep named in her honour.

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