CAST: Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Mark Ruffalo, J. Smith-Cameron, Jeannie Berlin, Matthew Broderick

WRITER/DIRECTOR: Kenneth Lonergan

DISTRIBUTOR: Fox Searchlight


The kid was sensational as Holly Hunter's endearing, endangered daughter in "The Pianist," and you'd be a total meanie to say she didn't deserve her Oscar for the Best Supporting Actress of 1993.

But hey, that was 12 years ago, and Anna Paquin has yet to realize her full cinematic potential. That situation seems to be changing, however, thanks to Kenneth Lonergan, who has given Paquin the lead in "Margaret," an intriguing film about to go into production in New York.

Lonergan, of course is the writer-director who made his behind-the-camera debut with “You Can Count on Me,” possibly the funniest, most emotionally involving American movie of 2000. If you saw the film, you know that Lonergan drew an astonishing performance from Laura Linney as a spirited single mother, a performance that won her a Best Actress Oscar nomination. Equally impresive were Mark Ruffalo as Linney's screwed-up brother and Matthew Broderick as the petty, despotic boss who unexpectedly becomes her red-hot lover, even though he already has a conspicuously pregnant mate.

So what kind of character has Lonergan dreamed up for Paquin--who impressed London theatergoers in a West End production of his "This Is Our Youth"--to play in his new film? Margaret is a Manhattan teenager with plenty of problems, one of the major ones being her mom, a neurotic actress. The thing that agitates her most, however, is a horrific bus accident she recently witnessed--an accident she's come to suspect was not an accident at all.

We've a feeling that Anna's Supporting Actress days have come to an end. Look for her as a Best Actress contender in the 2006 Oscar race.

In the meantime, the delightfully grown-up Aussie co-stars with Laura Linney in "The Squid and the Whale," Noah Baumbach's Sundance hit that will play at the 2005 New York Film Festival. For more news about the festival, click here; to read Guy Flatley's 1998 interview with Anna Paquin, click here.