• Golden Globe Awards

Jennifer Jason Leigh

Jennifer Jason Leigh is having a very good year. She received a Golden Globes Award nomination for her supporting performance in Quentin Tarantino’s Western The Hateful Eight, as well as an Independent Spirit nod for her role in the animated feature Anomalisa, a first for a voice performance. “This is an amazing year, I love it.” Jennifer said in an exclusive interview with HFPA in November, before the nominations poured in.Born in Hollywood, California as Jennifer Leigh Morrow to actor Vic Morrow and scriptwriter Barbara Turner, the actress changed her name to Jennifer Leigh (and later added a new middle name to honor family friend, actor Jason Robards Jr.) to show she could make her own name, and her own way, from the very beginning.After her first taste of acting at nine, Jennifer attended acting workshops given by Lee Strasberg and landed her second role at 14 in a Disney TV movie. She received her Screen Actors Guild membership when she was 16, and would drop out of Pacific Palisades High School just six weeks before graduation to pursue acting.She played an anorexic and shrunk to under 90 pounds in The Best Little Girl in the World, and after that she played the female lead, arguably her breakout role, in Amy Heckerling’s teen comedy Fast Times at Ridgemont High. She didn’t immediately move on to more commercial fare but instead spent the next decade pursuing intense roles and portraying troubled and sometimes controversial characters, from prostitutes to drug addicts to crime victims and criminals.“I could never play the ingénue, the girl next door or the very successful young doctor. That would be a bore.” Leigh once said. In 1990, Leigh gained critical notice for her performance in Last Exit to Brooklyn, winning several film critics’ awards. The late Roger Ebert included Last Exit in his list of Best Movies of 1990, calling Leigh's performance brave. She worked non-stop throughout the 90s, working with directors like Robert Altman and the Coen Brothers in projects like Short Cuts, The Hudsucker Proxy, and Single White Female. And in 1994, she delivered another powerful portrayal, this time of writer Dorothy Parker in Alan Rudolph's Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle, which earned her first Golden Globe nomination. The following year she did Georgia, a script by her mother reportedly based partly on her sister Carrie. Her portrayal divided the critics but garnered another independent Spirit nomination.Leigh marched into uncharted territory in the new millennium, writing, directing, and co-producing The Anniversary Party with Alan Cumming with whom she collaborated on the Broadway revival of Cabaret. Leigh played an aging actress who makes jokes about her lack of Academy Award nominations and is fearful of losing her bisexual husband (Cumming). The film was shot on digital video, and costarred their real-life Hollywood friends. The movie received generally positive reviews, and was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award. Leigh married her long time boyfriend and partner, writer/director Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale) in 2005 and divided her time between New York and Los Angeles, Broadway and Hollywood. The couple had worked together on the Ben Stiller film Greenburg, and Margot at the Wedding. Surprisingly, Jennifer filed for divorce just seven months after she gave birth to their son, ending their five years of marriage.When asked about casting the only major female role of Daisy Domergue for The Hateful Eight, director Quentin Taratino admitted that he had narrowed the choice down to four actresses. As a ritual, he went back to see the past performances of the finalists, and found he couldn’t put away Leigh’s films.“I just enjoyed watching her so much as an audience member and I enjoyed her aesthetic as a performer so much that I just became enamored with her all over again and I knew she had to become Daisy.”Lynn Tso