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A Good Movie and a Rising Star

Wednesday, February 10, 2010, 17:00 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

Academy Award nominee and New Englander Anna Kendrick with some guyLast night, I saw the film Up in the Air with three of my co-workers. We wanted to see Maine native and Academy Award nominee Anna Kendrick, with whom we have a very loose connection: Kendrick’s mother works at our Portland, Maine, office. The company’s intranet web site (sorry, no external link available) told the story last week.

When Jan Kendrick walked into her meeting late Tuesday morning, her supervisor asked her to explain to everyone why she was tardy.

Her excuse got a round of applause.

Jan, a financial risk analyst in Portland, stayed home longer than usual that morning to watch TV. She wanted to find out who would be nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. A few minutes into the telecast, she recognized a name.

“I screamed all by myself,” she said. “All I could do was scream.”

Her daughter, Anna Kendrick, earned an Oscar nod for best supporting actress for her role in Up in the Air, a comedy-drama film in which the 24-year-old stars with George Clooney.

“I’m thrilled beyond words for her,” Jan said. “I just don’t know what to say.”

Apparently, neither do her co-workers.

“All people can say is just ‘wow.’ Nobody really knows what to say, but I’ve been getting a lot of emails and voicemails from people congratulating me on the news.”

She also got flowers from her team members.

To Jan, the nomination is a sign the family’s sacrifice over the years continues to pay off. Jan devoted all of her vacation time to driving Anna to New York City for auditions, and her husband eventually moved there to be with Anna.

“We never pushed Anna to act,” she said. “We only supported her.”

Anna’s success began early. She started acting at age 7, had an agent in New York City by age 10 and earned a Tony Award nomination by age 12. When she turned 18, she moved to Hollywood to pursue her passion further.

The Academy Award nomination tops off a wonderful year for Anna. The Up in the Air role already earned her nominations for Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild awards. And in December, she was named best supporting actress by the National Board of Review.

She’s also had a supporting role in the popular Twilight Saga movies, in which she plays Jessica, a friend to the main female character. She will appear in the third film in the series.

This month, Anna will film another movie as well — this time, with Seth Rogen.

For now, the focus is on preparing for the Oscars. The Academy Awards are scheduled for March 7.

Jan wouldn’t mind being Anna’s date to the event.

The movie, incidentally, was very good, not at all what I expected, and had a couple plot twists that I never saw coming. Kendrick was perfect for the role in which she was cast, a young up-and-comer whose early career challenges teach her something about the real world. We here at the company will be pulling for her at next month’s Oscars.

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