Best supporting actress nominees

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Penelope Cruz
"Nine"

"We all lived in the same apartment complex in South Kensington in London," producer Marc Platt recalls. "The days would be full of dance rehearsals, scene rehearsals and staging rehearsals. Penelope would come home at night and want to rehearse more. I had a keyboard put in my apartment and often she would come over, have the musical director come by and they would rehearse in my apartment at 9 o'clock at night. She wanted to be so precise in the creation of her character ... . I'd come home and she'd be in my apartment, at the keyboard, working."

Vera Farmiga

"Up in the Air"

"When we first meet her in the movie she is warm and dances these circles with George," producer Daniel Dubiecki says. "At the end of the movie we find out there's a character flaw. In real life, Vera is truly the family person we would all want her to be when we're watching the movie. She kept family around her the entire time -- her husband, her child, her sister ... . It's a testament to how good she is as an actress because she sells both sides of the character and it's such a
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delicate balance."

Maggie Gyllenhaal

"Crazy Heart"

Gyllenhaal was vacationing in Martha's Vineyard during the Fourth of July weekend when she received a visit from filmmaker Scott Cooper to enlist her for the movie. "Just seeing her interact with her daughter, I knew she was the one to play Jean before I began speaking to her," he recalls, noting that the actress' real life mother-daughter love would translate authentically to Jean Craddock's love for her son, Buddy.

Anna Kendrick
"Up in the Air"

Producer Daniel Dubiecki remembers shooting in the Detroit airport where Clooney had to look out the airport window on to the tarmac and she's had to sit on her suitcase, texting. "What you don't see is that there were 500 people gathered around and that just makes one go, 'Oh right, we're making a movie with George Clooney,' " Dubiecki says. "Shooting in public spaces affects so many people outside the production. Anna had to sit there and shoot an incredibly thoughtful scene and pretend that 500 people weren't staring at her. To her credit, she didn't let it affect her performance."

Mo'Nique

"Precious"

Before work got under way every day, Mo'Nique would pray with everyone as a group. Before director Lee Daniels saying 'Action!' everyone would stand in a circle and hold hands while the actress led a prayer asking for God to help them through the work day. The experience was so effective at setting the proper tone that Daniels decided to continue it himself.
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