Oscar® Nominees
Hilary Swank
For Hilary Swank—nominated as Best Actress for her work in Clint Eastwood's Million Dollar Baby—the 2005 Academy Awards® could be the year this 30-year-old actress collects golden statue No. 2.

Hilary has gotten to this point through tons of hard work. At the young age of 15, the talented Hilary quickly became a working actress in Hollywood. And within four years, she got her big break—a starring role on the big screen in The Next Karate Kid. But success wasn't permanent right away. Hilary says she hit a career low when she was fired from the popular TV series Beverly Hills 90210.

But she fought her way to a major comeback when she beat out 800 actresses for the role of Teena Brandon, the gender-bending tragic character in the 1999 film Boys Don't Cry. For that role, Hilary won her first Oscar®.

But what you might not know about is Hilary's humble beginnings, her path to Hollywood, and how her "inspiration" gave her a chance to shine.