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Oscar buzz puts Jacki Weaver in limelight

February 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
A new face to the Oscars this year has an acting resume 45 years in the making. And chances are you've never seen Jacki Weaver in a thing.

That's because Weaver's stardom is in her homeland of Australia.

But thanks to her Oscar-nominated work in "Animal Kingdom," this year's oldest nominee may be getting a brand new shot at stardom in America.

Weaver earned her nomination for "Animal Kingdom" playing a mother bear, the protective matriarch of an Australian crime family.

"It sounds like a nature documentary you see on National Geographic, but no, it describes a very feral sort of criminal family and the disintegration of it and how it sinks to terrible depths," Weaver said. "There's an analogy with the animal kingdom. It's every man for himself and it's whoever is the best survivor wins."

Weaver says it's fair to call her a newcomer to American audiences. But since she's been treated like such a star these past several weeks, she wonders if it's all just a big, elaborate hoax.

"It's been overwhelming," Weaver said. "The past month in L.A. has been incredible. I've met so many producers and writers, as well as people wanting to manage me and agencies. It's been amazing.

"I've read several scripts now. I want to do all of them, they're all fantastic. I'm sorting through what would be my best options."

Fellow Australian Nicole Kidman is one of Waver's longtime fans.

"To have this chance says to so many actors that it doesn't matter what age you are, you can have a huge break," Kidman said.

"I remember seeing Nicole when she was 14," Weaver said. "I did say to my husband, 'I think that little girl's going to be a big star,' and he said, 'How can you tell?' I said, 'I just feel it.'"

ABC7 and OnTheRedCarpet.com have complete coverage of the 83rd Academy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.

Starting at 2 p.m. PT, you can watch On The Red Carpet LIVE from the red carpet on TV in Los Angeles and many other markets (check listings), as well as streaming online at OnTheRedCarpet.com and on our free On The Red Carpet iPad app, available now in iTunes.

When the last awards have been given out, at approximately 8:30 p.m. PT, you can watch continuing coverage of the Governor's Ball and all the Oscar night parties as On The Red Carpet airs live on TV on the West Coast (check listings), as well as streaming online at OnTheRedCarpet.com and on the iPad app.