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Oscars 2002 Monday, 25 March, 2002, 03:56 GMT
Jennifer Connelly: Out of the labyrinth
Connelly's role in A Beautiful Mind is much praised
Connelly's role in A Beautiful Mind is much praised
Actress Jennifer Connelly has had an incredible year by anyone's standards.

Until recently the New York-born 31-year-old was best known for her performance in the Jim Henson fantasy adventure Labyrinth in 1986.

Jennifer Connelly
Oscar success followed Bafta glory
Thankfully her performance in A Beautiful Mind, praised as assured, tender and moving, is good enough to make most people forget the earlier film.

In it she plays the wife of troubled mathematician John Nash, and is seen as the steadying hand through the genius's tortured life.

Now, as an Oscar winner she had better get used to praise.

Lingered

When receiving his best actor Bafta, Russell Crowe took time to describe Connelly as "graceful, mischievous and mesmerising".

More than once the cameras focused, even lingered, on the beautiful actress during the Bafta ceremony.

Her first steps into the acting world were a baptism of unusual roles, appearing in an episode of the British series Tales of the Unexpected, followed by a brief role in Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in America, at the age of 12.

Labyrinth pointed to a bright future but she languished in a series of forgettable films.

She starred with Patrick Dempsey in the romantic comedy Some Girls before taking a part in the ballet film Étoile.

Enthusiastic

Her choice in roles was not judicious and she admits she took the latter part so she could spend more time in Italy, a favourite place of hers.

In 1990 she received enthusiastic notices for the Dennis Hopper-directed movie The Hot Spot but it failed at the box office.

The big budget action flick The Rocketeer also failed to ignite the box office and she disappeared off the radar until she was cast as a lesbian student in John Singleton's Higher Learning in 1995.

But in the space of a few years she has begun to raise her profile.

Two years ago she appeared in Waking the Dead followed by Requiem for a Dream.

With all the attention she has received in A Beautiful Mind it is to be hoped she will continue with further success but little is guaranteed with Connelly.

Her next role is as Betty Ross, love interest for the green monster himself in The Hulk.

Ang Lee is directing and the high profile of such a role will surely add more stars to her firmament.

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