Meet the 2017 Academy Awards Nominees: Best Actress in a Leading Role

This year's Best Actress in a Leading Role category is filled with some beautifully passionate, heartbreakingly funny, and devastatingly human performances. Before the Academy Award winner is announced on February 26th, get to know these unbelievable ladies!


Next up: Best Actress in a Leading Role

 

Meet Isabelle Huppert

Elle

Hometown: Paris, France


Training: Versailles Conservatoire, National Conservatory of Dramatic Art of Paris


Big Break: A celebrated French actress, Isabelle has appeared in over 100 French and foreign films and you might recognize her in American movies like "I Heart Huckabees" (2004) and "The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby" (2013).


Fun Fact: She is the Meryl Streep of France. She has been nominated 16 times for the Cesar Award (France's biggest film award), making her the most nominated actress.

 

Meet Ruth Negga

Loving

Hometown: Addis Adaba, Ethiopia


Training: Trinity College in Dublin (BA in Acting Studies)


Big Break: Prior to "Loving," Ruth worked mostly in theatre and TV/film in London and Ireland. You may recognize her from the TV series "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.


Fun Fact: Ruth shot scenes for "12 Years a Slave," but ultimately, her character was cut from the film.

 

Meet Natalie Portman

Jackie

Hometown: Jericho, New York


Training: American Theatre Dance Workshop, Usdan Center for the Creative and Performing Arts, Harvard University (BA Psychology)


Big Break: Starting her career as a teenager, her breakout role in "Beautiful Girls" (1996) and "Star Wars: Episode 1" (1999) paved her pathway to stardom, ultimately winning her first Academy Award for "Black Swan" (2010).


Fun Fact: She was originally up for Juliet in Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet," but lost the role because the producers felt she was too young up against Leonardo Dicaprio.

 

Meet Meryl Streep

Florence Foster Jenkins

Hometown: Summit, New Jersey


Training: Vassar College (BA), Yale School of Drama (MFA Acting)


Big Break: Although she had already become a rising NYC stage actress post-Yale, it wasn't until her Oscar-nominated role in "The Deer Hunter" (1978) that Meryl started receiving worldwide recognition.


Fun Fact: Meryl almost didn't became an actress. She didn't become serious about pursuing acting until she played the title role in "Miss Julie." At Yale, she appeared in so many productions every year that she felt so overworked that she almost quit to become a lawyer.