Lucky: Angelina Jolie
At the point when she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance as a mercurial mental-ward patient in “Girl, Interrupted,” Jolie was a sexy young ingénue who had better luck landing in gossip-page headlines than she did in snagging roles that did justice to her complex, somewhat dangerous allure. The chance to play video-game heroine Lara Croft [pictured left], essentially a female Indiana Jones, in a series of “Tomb Raider” movies sounded like an irresistible proposition—Jolie would look good in Croft’s famously cleavage-centric costume while indulging her dark side by kicking a lot of disposable-evil-underling ass.
The “Tomb Raider” movies ended up being more fun in theory than in execution, but Jolie wisely parlayed their success into a career as the rare, box-office-viable female action hero, in better-crafted vehicles than the Lara Croft flicks (“Wanted,” “Salt”). She balances blockbusters with dark dramas (like “A Mighty Heart” and “Changeling” [pictured right]) that allow her to do the kind of dramatic heavy lifting that could eventually lead to a second Oscar.