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."