Mila Kunis: Rising Star

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We’re down to the last week of voting for most categories for People’s Choice Awards 2013. You’ve already cast hundreds of millions of votes for your favorites and you’ve still got seven days to go… keep up the good work!

We’re also down to the final category for which we’ll devote one Buzz Blog per nominee. We led off with your favorite male movie stars a few weeks ago and now it’s time to close with your favorite leading ladies. ¬†Your nominees for Favorite Movie Actress — and the subjects for the next five blog postings — are Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone, Jennifer Lawrence, Mila Kunis and Scarlett Johansson.

First up is a first-time nominee in this category: Mila Kunis.

I actually briefly met Mila in September 1998. I was working for Entertainment Weekly when we threw a party in LA to celebrate the launch of the new TV season. The casts from many new and returning shows came to the soiree, including some very nice kids named Ashton, Topher, Wilmer, Laura, Danny and Mila. They were young and enthusiastic and sweet and very excited to be on a new FOX comedy called That ’70′s Show. The rest, as they say, is history. Yet, while Ashton Kutcher and Topher Grace’s stars rose almost immediately, Mila’s path took a little longer. It was certainly worth the wait.

POP QUIZ: In what 1998 HBO original movie did she play the 11-year old version of the title character? HINT: Angelina Jolie won the Golden Globe for her portrayal of the title character as an adult. ANSWER: Gia. Who knew?

Sure, Mila spent 8 years on That ’70s Show wearing striped jumpsuits and floral dresses with white collars so wide you could land a plane on them — and she’s been providing the voice for Meg Griffin on Family Guy for thirteen years — but her status as an A-list movie star is a more recent phenomenon. Of late she’s held her own playing opposite Natalie Portman, Justin Timberlake, Mark Wahlberg (twice), and Denzel Washington. Not bad for a nice girl from Ukraine.

I remember seeing her in Forgetting Sarah Marshall and thinking, “Wow! Jackie Burkhart is all grown up and sure has movie star quality.” The rest of the world took notice (as did the folks who determine the nominees for the Golden Globes and SAG Awards ), when she played Lily in Black Swan. There’s no denying that her performance was riveting but, truth be told, I thought the movie was a wee bit overrated. In fact, if I were passing out the Oscars that year, I would have given the Best Actress statuette to Annette Bening for The Kids Are All Right or Michelle Williams for Blue Valentine, and that was before we all learned that Natalie Portman‘s head was magically attached to a professional dancer’s body via CGI for many of the dance scenes in Black Swan.

But back to Mila… She flexed her dramatic muscles in The Book of Eli in 2010 and earned a Favorite Comedic Movie Actress PCA nomination last year for Friends With Benefits. She’s up for that award again this year — in addition to Favorite Movie Actress — for her delightful portrayal of Lori Collins in the highest grossing comedy of 2012: Ted, the movie that puts the high in highest and the gross in grossing. She has great chemistry with Mark Wahlberg and the Seth MacFarlane-voiced title bear, and she takes the cliched “girlfriend” role to new heights.

She’s beautiful and talented, funny and dramatic. She can play the exotic femme fatale or the wholesome girl next door. She’s been working for years and her star keeps on rising. No wonder she has five movies slated to be released in 2013, including Oz: The Great and Powerful opposite James Franco.

Keep the movies coming, Mila. We’ll keep watching.

TODAY’S POLL: Mila Kunis is nominated for Favorite Movie Actress. Which of her films is your favorite?

Black Swan

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Friends With Benefits

Ted

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