When Jennifer Lawrence won Best Actress for her role in "Silver Linings Playbook" at the SAG Awards last month, she thanked her family, her director, her fellow cast members and producing honcho Harvey Weinstein. Then she went home.
"I always go home," Lawrence said. "I stopped at Harvey's party, Harvey Weinstein's party, for a little bit. Got my parents drunk and then I left and went home."
And when she got there, she was greeted by her friends, who were having a sort of low-key, slumber-slash-awards-show-watch party at her house.
"My friends have started doing this thing where they will watch whatever awards shows I'm at," Lawrence said. "None of them are really in the business, which is nice. They are more in touch with the real world."
Her acting seems that way too. Just 22 years old, with two Best Actress nominations already on her resume, Lawrence has Hollywood buzzing about her grit-to-glam range and her refreshingly unspoiled self-image.
"I just have a very weird job," she said. "And if I remind myself of that, that it's nothing more than that, then I don't start thinking that it's more dramatic than it is."
Oscar-nominated this year for director David O. Russell's "Silver Linings Playbook," Lawrence takes what could have been a rom-com stock character and fills the off-kilter widow named Tiffany with vivid, captivating emotion, both on the dance floor with Bradley Cooper and going toe-to-toe with Robert DeNiro.
In one scene, Lawrence had to stare into the eyes of DeNiro, arguably one of the greatest actors in the history of American cinema, and tell him off. She said it was "never-wracking."
"I'm really bad about reading scenes before, and so I was trying to memorize it in the hair and make-up trailer," she said. "And I was like, 'Oh my God, I'm going to be screaming at Robert DeNiro and I'm going to be messing up my lines.' And fortunately, the adrenaline kicked in and I remembered."
Lawrence grew up in Louisville, Ky., the youngest of three, spurning the sports her brothers loved. She was an irrepressible, spontaneous performer from the git-go. When her father started working from home, Lawrence said she played dress-up every day.
"My dad is trying to work, and I would be, 'Wait, wait, wait,' and put on a new show where I would dress up as a person and knock on the door and be like, 'Hi. My name's Judy and my car broke down, can I use your phone?'" she said laughing. "And yet, none of us ever assumed I would be an actress."
At age 14, Lawrence and her mother took a spring break trip to New York City. While strolling through Union Square, a talent scout spotted her.
"I had already caught the [acting] bug," Lawrence said. "It was the first time in my entire life that I felt I, 100 percent, was made for something and that I understood something, because I spent so many years being lost in school and feeling stupid."
Yet she remained unsure of her commercial viability until her big break in 2010, when Lawrence starred in an underdog indie film called "Winter's Bone," playing an ever-resourceful teen amid meth and menace on a hardscrabble Ozark landscape.
"I'm still auditioning for things and I'm still like, 'Am I good at this or do these directors just like me?'" she said. "And then 'Winter's Bone' happened, and they loved the movie and then a couple years later, we were at the Oscars, and it was just unreal."
The critically-hailed drama earned Lawrence her first Oscar nomination. Yet the flannel-and-jeans part didn't sum up all Lawrence had to offer onscreen. So she glammed up some for an Esquire magazine photo shoot and was soon cast as Raven/Mystique in "X-Men: First Class," requiring layers of blue paint to be applied to her body each shooting day.
"I have no modesty left," Lawrence said. "I was either standing or sitting on a bicycle seat while seven women painted me everywhere and it was horrible. But I can't wait to go back."
To fans of "The Hunger Games," Lawrence is the indomitable, emotionally torn Katniss Everdeen, the heroine of what will be a movie trilogy. Yet after being cast in the role, she almost turned it down "because of the size of it" and because of what she said she watched happen to the actors starring in another incredibly popular trilogy.
"With the poor 'Twilight' actors, they had no idea what they were getting themselves into," Lawrence said. "I was afraid of my life changing. I had a wonderful life and I had this imaginary made-up future of myself where I would be a soccer mom driving a minivan and raise a normal family, like what I grew up in, and I couldn't see that future if I said yes to these movies."
Lawrence said it took her three days to decide to agree to do "The Hunger Games."
"It was difficult," she said "But I've never once regretted saying yes to 'The Hunger Games,' which is odd, 'cause I expected to."
A $400 million, blow-out-the-doors, smash hit, "The Hunger Games'" success reshaped, not just Lawrence's life, but the life of her loved ones, especially her mother.
"God bless her," Lawrence said. "She texts me almost every single night, 'Are you home? Are you OK?'"
But Lawrence has yet to been spotted staggering home from a Hollywood nightclub.
"No, you'll never see that, because I don't like it," she said. "I just don't like clubs and I don't have the stomach for getting really wasted. Four drinks, I'm barfing. I don't know what it is. My brothers are really ashamed of me."
Following her break-up with actor Nicolas Hoult, Lawrence has experienced paparazzi scrutiny, but it was a tabloid tale about a costume party outfit that really made her mad.
"The tabloid that said that I dressed up as a medieval, like a sexy medieval something and that upset me more than the dating rumors that have been circling around that were fake," she said. "If somebody thinks I'm going to dress sexy to a costume party, they have another thing coming."
When she does venture out to a soiree, Lawrence said Hollywood royalty still leaves her slack-jawed.
"I saw Meryl Streep at a party one time and somebody was about to introduce me to Bill Maher," she said. "And so he was reaching his hand and I literally put my hand in his face and looked at Meryl Streep and go, 'NOT NOW, BILL,' and I just stared at her all night, and followed her around and drank and stared at her like a creep."
But as Oscar night approaches, Lawrence's fellow nominees seem to be looking up to her, something she finds humbling. She said seeing the ascendance of actresses younger than herself, such as Quvenzhane Wallis from "Beasts of the Southern Wild," is amazing.
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"It's really fun," Lawrence said. "And then there is also a sense of relief because it's like, 'Oh God, there's going to be another-- I'm not going to be relevant forever.'"
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