Here are 25 facts about J-Law that will only confirm why you’re so obsessed with her. Because why wouldn’t you be?
1. Jennifer Lawrence made her name as a Sundance darling, appearing in indie films like Winter’s Bone and Like Crazy, which won the Grand Prize at the festival back-to-back. However, her first ever role was on The Bill Engvall Show on TBS, playing Engvall’s daughter, Lauren. The show aired from 2007 to 2009, when it was abruptly cancelled. This is probably for the best, because in 2009 she landed the lead role in Winter’s Bone, which would debut the following year, earning her first Oscar nomination. But remember: her first ever award nom will be a Young Artist Award on a TBS show.
2. Before Bill Engvall, Lawrence made the rounds as an extra and a guest star on TV shows like Cold Case and Medium, where she played two different characters. However, her earliest TV role was on Monk, where she played a lion mascot, whose name was also Jen. You can see her in “Mr. Monk and the Big Game,” which is the third episode of the show’s fifth season. Another actress who got her start on the show was Kiernan Shipka (aka Sally Draper), who appeared in two episodes in 2006.
3. In the film world, Jennifer Lawrence’s first lead role came in the 2008 film Poker House, which counted as the actress’ first lead role. She’d previously acted in Garden Party, an indie throwaway starring Hocus Pocus’ Vinessa Shaw, but the well-reviewed Poker House was a mini-breakout for Lawrence. The film was directed by Lori Petty (of Tank Girl) and also gave Chloe Moretz her first chance to shine. Although she’s increasingly becoming a household name, Moretz’s resume at that point was relegated to kiddie fare like Big Momma’s House 2 and Bolt and horror remakes The Amityville Horror and The Eye.
4. Growing up, Jennifer Lawrence never took an acting class and didn’t enroll in the drama program in school. While working as a nurse at the summer camp her mother managed, Lawrence performed in local theatre from a young age. One of her first-ever parts was as a nine-year-old prostitute from the town of Niveneh in a religious play based on the Book of Jonah.
5. At the age of 14, Lawrence was “discovered” by a New York photographer. She was on a school break with her family, but they ended up finding her an agent and all that jazz to help her break into the “industry.”
6. Jennifer Lawrence played basketball, field hockey and softball as a kid, and while she was in pre-school, her teachers wouldn’t let her play with the girls. Lawrence was too rough. Instead, Lawrence rode horses. J-Law cites her first love as a pony named Muffin that lived on her horse farm that her parents owned. A straight-A student and a cheerleader in high school, Lawrence graduated two years early to start her career. The year she graduated, she was voted as “Most Talkative,” which I’m sure surprises no one. Due to her talking skills and ebullient hyperactivity, her nickname was “Nitro.”
7. Before breaking out in Hollywood, Lawrence auditioned for the role of Bella Swan in Twilight — although agents picked Kristen Stewart over her. Although Lawrence claims she’s glad she didn’t get it, she joins Vanessa Hudgens, Ben Barnes and Lucy Hale for actors who auditioned for the film. Stewart would later act in Snow White and the Huntsman with Charlize Theron, who starred in The Burning Plain with Jennifer Lawrence, the movie J-Law took instead. Fortunately Rupert Sanders was nowhere near that production.
8. In addition to Twilight, Lawrence auditioned for the part of Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo remake, although it eventually went to Rooney Mara, who Fincher directed in The Social Network. Lawrence also tried out for Superbad in 2007, a part that gave Emma Stone one of her first big roles. Lawrence and Stone are now best friends, so it’s good to see that all worked out for the good.
8. The role that fully got Lawrence the attention she deserved was Winter’s Bone, the gritty Ozark drama directed by Debra Granik. Granik’s previous film was the also skeletally titled Down to the Bone, starring Vera Farmiga. Although Farmiga had been acting since the mid 90’s — and unfortunately appeared in Autumn in New York — Down to the Bone (like Winter’s Bone for Lawrence) was Farmiga’s big break. Both actresses were nominated for Indie Spirit awards in their respective portrayals of women dealing with drug culture. Lawrence attempts to fight Ozark methheads, where Farmiga struggles with her own drug addiction.
9. For Winter’s Bone, Lawrence became the third-youngest best actress nominee, after Beasts of the Southern Wild’s Quvenzhane Wallis and Whale Rider’s Keisha Castle-Hughes, who were 9 and 13 when they were nominated. (Wallis was only five when Beasts was filmed and had to lie about her age to even get the part, which is mind-boggling to think about.) Lawrence joins Keira Knightley and Ellen Page in the 20-year-old nominee club, and she’s the youngest person to ever be nominated twice, as well as the second-youngest best actress winner ever (after Marlee Matlin). She’s only 23. GOD, WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE?
10. After doing Winter’s Bone, Lawrence was concerned that many of the roles she would be offered would only be dowdy of tomboy-ish and wanted to prove she could be taken seriously as a sexual being. Hence, her red Oscar dress was born, which left no question about her hotness. Around the same time, Lawrence posed for a very revealing shoot with GQ, where she was close to naked for most of it. Lawrence believes that taking those chances with her sexuality convinced producers to cast her in the X-Men reboot, as a character whose only wardrobe is blue paint.
11. When she won the Oscar for Silver Linings’ Playbook, she was the first Oscar winning actor from Kentucky since George Clooney, who got a little golden man for Syriana in 2006. She’s the first Kentuckian woman to win an acting Oscar since Patricia Neal for Hud in 1964. Fellow Kentucky native Johnny Depp has yet to win, and neither has Tom Cruise, who was raised in the state. Her Hunger Games co-star, Josh Hutcherson, was also born in KY — in Union, toward the northern part of the state.
12. A few of Lawrence’s films have taken a minute to see the light of day. The Beaver was filmed in 2009 but wasted away until 2011, where it was unceremoniously dumped after Mel Gibson’s breakdown. Directed by Jodie Foster, the movie grossed just a million dollars, including a sad $100,000 on opening weekend, despite earning fair reviews. (For reference, Black Swan grossed more in its opening weekend than The Beaver’s entire run.) The movie cost $24 million to make, before marketing costs were taken into account, making it a financial disaster. It was Lawrence’s first time working with Anton Yelchin, who she again dated onscreen in Like Crazy, and with Foster, who had been instrumental in Kristen Stewart’s career.
13. Her delayed projects also included The House at the End of the Street, which might have went straight-to-video if not for her fame. It was filmed in 2010, before her Winter’s Bone nomination, and her producers hit the jackpot on this one. A horror film shot in Canada on a small budget, it pulled in $42 million for the studio, who even released a novelization of the movie. Despite the film’s critical thrashing, critics lauded her ability to turn in a fine performance, even when given nothing to work with. Oddly though, the movie’s producer also worked on The Social Network and David O. Russell’s The Fighter, which were much better.
14. After almost starring in Twilight and seeing what fame had done to Kristen Stewart’s personal life, Lawrence almost turned down The Hunger Games, despite being a fan of the book series. She waited three days to consider the offer and get back to the producers. Lawrence was wise to think that aspect of it over, as the first movie grossed $408 million, over $100 million more than the highest-grossing Twilight movie. To put it into perspective, the first Twilight installment only grossed $192 million. Think how big those Hunger Games sequels are going to be.
15. To get into her tough girl characters, Jennifer Lawrence amply prepares to kick ass. For Winter’s Bone, Lawrence had to learn to fight, chop wood and skin a squirrel — like her character, Ree. So in the movie, when she kills a squirrel, she’s actually doing it. Her cousin also gave her an empty shotgun to carry around with her everywhere. As he put it, “anybody who knows anything about guns is going to know in a second if someone has held a gun before,” and he wanted the hunting to feel authentic.
16. Lawrence also practiced archery to become as nimble of a hunter as The Hunger Games’ Katniss. Although she often jokes about how she likes to sit on her couch and be lazy, Lawrence had to work out twice a day to get in physical shape for the role. But never one to take hard work too seriously, Lawrence’s on-set nickname was “Katpiss Neverclean.” When she initially met Woody Harrelson during production, the first thing she ever said to him was: “Hey Woody, is that a sex swing?” They were in his trailer. It was a yoga swing.
17. After Silver Linings’ Playbook, Lawrence will star in two more movies with Bradley Cooper this year: Serena and American Hustle. American Hustle will be directed by David O. Russell, her Silver Linings’ director, and is currently the Gold Derby front-runner for Best Picture. The movie co-stars Cooper, Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Robert DeNiro and Jeremy Renner and the main cast has 14 Oscar nominations between them. The most nominated person is Adams, who has four nominations without a win.
18. When she reprises her role as Mystique in X-Men: Days of Future Past, the cast will be even more stacked. The film combines the old and new X-Men casts, and in addition to Lawrence, both Anna Paquin and Halle Berry are Oscar winners. Of the announced cast, six actors have been nominated for Oscars, and the non-Oscar nominees are Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Peter Dinklage, James McAvoy and Nicholas Hoult, Lawrence’s ex. They met on the set of X-Men: First Class.
19. After two years of dating, Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence broke up last year — just in time for the Oscars. Lawrence took her parents as her dates instead. However, if you’re holding out hope for the couple — like half of Tumblr — I hereby refer you to the rumor mill about the two being back together. Go forth and salivate, if you must.
20. Jennifer Lawrence once cited Midnight in Paris as her favorite movie but is such a fan of The Big Lebowski that she got starstruck seeing Jeff Bridges at Comic-Con. She walked up to him to say hello, not realizing that he was in the middle of an interview. Embarrassed, she quickly shuffled away, but Bridges made them bring her back. A flabbergasted Jennifer Lawrence got to finish interviewing Jeff Bridges, stuttering with the microphone in hand.
21. She’s also a huge fan of I Heart Huckabees, calling it her favorite comedy, but her fandom didn’t stop her from later working with David O. Russell. Although Russell had widely publicized feuds with George Clooney and Lily Tomlin — and even angelic Amy Adams says she wanted to punch him — Russell and Lawrence were known to goof around on the set of Silver Linings’ Playbook. The pair would do strange things like create videos where they appeared to be wiping their asses with coffee napkins, but Bradley Cooper called them back to attention.
22. In addition to Laura Linney and Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence is a huge Meryl Streep fan, much like the rest of the world. During a much-publicized incident, Lawrence shushed Bill Maher in the middle of introducing himself, because she saw Meryl Streep. She made him be quiet while she stared at Meryl from afar. She also once stalked John Stamos at a party, who assumed she was drunk or on something. She was not.
23. Despite her many accomplishments, none of her highly regarded acting roles were the thing that earned her that SAG membership. It was a short appearance in a commercial for the MTV show My Super Sweet Sixteen. Lawrence mocked the show’s subjects, portraying a spoiled rich girl. You can watch that below. You’re welcome, internet.