Great Performances

They made small films better and a big one sweeter. Now they're poised to reap awards. Here are seven actors to savor


She's one of those girls in the back of the class, her nose buried in a book (so you can't see her beauty) or daydreaming (so you can't read her mind). And then, in a flash: prom queen! Star of the school play! Valedictorian or vamp! Likely Oscar nominee for 21 Grams! Her vault from nowhere to notoriety reminds you that anonymity is an ideal perch for looking at others, and into oneself. Nothing succeeds like late success.

At 35, Naomi Watts is not exactly a Gray Panther. But like the character she plays in 21...

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