Best Breakthrough Performance
Even though bright-eyed actress Paula Patton began performing as a little girl, putting plays in her own back yard, the shy young woman didn't realize she wanted a career onscreen for many years to come. In high school, she became involved in a PBS series that took young, aspiring filmmakers on a trip across the country to work on their own documentaries, and when Patton graduated high school, she continued to pursue her interest in working behind the camera by enrolling the film school at the University of Southern California. After graduation, she worked as a production assistant, nurturing her goal of producing her own movie, but something felt missing. Finally, Patton realized that her passion was to be on the other side of the camera, so she enrolled in acting classes and strove toward her new goal in full force.
Within a few years, Patton had landed a small role in Will Smith's 2005 comedy Hitch. The next year, she auditioned for a strange and exciting project by music-video director and first time filmmaker Bryan Barber starring Andre 3000 from the hip-hop group OutKast. The movie was called Idlewild, and the super-stylized comedy/crime drama/musical was set in the Prohibition-era American South. Patton's fresh new face was exactly what the unique project needed, and she was cast in the role of Angel Davenport, the female lead. Though the film wasn't geared toward the mainstream, it was a cult success among audiences and critics who appreciated its quirky style.