Jennifer Lawrence named Outstanding Performer of the Year at Santa Barbara International Film Festival

Credit: Sasha Stone/Awards Daily

Credit: Sasha Stone/Awards Daily

Via: Yahoo! Movies

Jennifer Lawrence, the 22 year-old Best Actress Oscar frontrunner, was on hand Saturday at the Santa Barbara International Film Festival to receive the award for “Most Outstanding Performer of the Year” for her work in 2012, which included the blockbuster hit “The Hunger Games”, and critical/awards darling “Silver Linings Playbook”.

“It’s exhausting and an honor. It’s an exhausting honor,” said Lawrence while on the red carpet outside the Arlington Theater in Santa Barbara. Lawrence, upon receiving her award, had a sit-down with festival director Roger Durling and an audience of over 200 people to discuss her brief career so far, as well as her meteoric rise from modest beginnings.

“I had never really thought of acting [growning up]. It was never really a possibility,” said the Louisville, KY native. “Now looking back at it, I know that I was an actress since birth. Dressing up in different outfits. And I’d introduce myself as Lucille Ball. So now it’s starting to make sense.”

She detailed the beginnings of her career, after having been spotted by a talent scout. Lawrence and her mother left the familiar trappings of Kentucky for the anonymity of New York, meeting with several agencies in the process.

“In the car from the hotel to the modeling agency I decided that I didn’t want to be a model – that I was only going to be an actress. And that I’d only sign with an agency that would let me act. And so I was turning down all these agencies and my mother thought I was an idiot.”

Luckily, Lawrence was eventually signed to an agency, landing her bit roles in movies and on television, including a starring role on the short-lived TBS sitcom The Bill Engvall Show. In 2010, her performance in the low-budget indie drama “Winter’s Bone” earned Lawrence her first Oscar nomination, which ultimately transitioned the actress from little-known actress to international superstar, as she would go on to land the role of Katniss Everdeen in the big-screen adaptation of Suzanne Collins’ “Hunger Games” books. However, the star was initially uncertain about taking the A-list role.

“It’s really rare that saying ‘yes’ to something will completely change your life. I was happy with my life. And I always had this imaginary future where I’d be a soccer mom. It just didn’t fit with taking on a giant franchise.”

Lawrence claims that story and character are her methods of judging a project, and not the scale of the production. Her mother calling her a “hypocrite” is what convinced Lawrence to take the part.

Over the last month, Lawrence has gone from presumptive runner-up to Jessica Chastain at the Academy Awards to likely winner, having earned Critics Choice Awards, a Golden Globe, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance. This honor from the Santa Barbara International Film Festival will add to her already considerable trophy collection. Only time will tell if an Oscar will be chilling alongside it.

Movies Jennifer LawrenceSanta Barbara International Film Festival

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