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Michelle Williams, Blue Valentine
Michelle Williams has been showing off her acting chops with her bold roles in under-the-radar independent films, but she has also starred in a few box office hits, including Shutter Island with Leonardo DiCaprio. Yet, once again, it is her work in an independent film that's capturing critics' attention—this time for her performance in Blue Valentine. In the romantic drama, Williams and co-star Ryan Gosling play a couple who are making a last-ditch effort to save their marriage.

Williams began her acting career as the angst-ridden Jen Lindley in Dawson's Creek. After a six-season run with the teen drama, she made a successful leap to the big screen. She starred alongside fellow young stars Kirsten Dunst in Dick and Christina Ricci in Prozac Nation, and she also appeared in several indie hits, including The United States of Leland, Me Without You and Imaginary Heroes. In 2005, Williams hit a career high when she appeared in Ang Lee's Brokeback Mountain, for which she won a Critics' Choice Award and was nominated for a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.

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