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Jennifer Garner brings sexy back -- date with Oscar next?

April 6, 2011 | 11:45 am

Jennifer Garner is jumping back in to the spotlight with a vampy-trampy movie role and a sexed-up reimagining of an iconic film (and novel) character. It doesn't require Miss Marple to discern that this newly glamorous image could finally win Garner some Oscar love.

Jennifer Garner Arthur entertainment newsAfter taking time away from the spotlight to care for her kids, Garner will be back in theaters this weekend with a splashy supporting role in the "Arthur" reboot. And then there's that forthcoming role as Miss Marple that reinvents Agatha Christie's spinster as a young, hot sleuth.

But movie fans have become accustomed to tabloid photos of Garner hauling her kids around like a typical mom, in her sweats and T-shirts with no make-up and her hair pulled back into a no-nonsense ponytail.

Quite a different picture is painted in the trailers for "Arthur," where she is prominently seen spilling out of a lacy bustier as she chases Russell Brand around the bedroom.

It certainly helps to have Garner vamping in a high-profile popcorn pic when her sex appeal is openly touted as a selling point for the Miss Marple relaunch. Neither film would seem, on paper, like obvious Academy Awards bait. But Garner might want to take a page in this regard from her "Arthur" costar Helen Mirren, who takes on the role that won the late John Gielgud his Oscar in 1981.

Four years ago, a well-timed cover of Los Angeles magazine showing a glammed-up Mirren flashing her bra got Hollywood excited just as voting for the Oscars was closing. Earlier that derby season, she confidently wore a plunging neckline on red carpets and talked dirty to journalists and TV hosts. She may have cinched the gold for "The Queen" — a dramatically rich but decidedly frumpy role — by demonstrating to the male-dominated academy that she still had sex appeal to spare.

Garner's slinky, gun-toting role as Sydney Bristow in the spy series "Alias" is a distant memory, despite four Emmy nominations (2002-05) and a 2001 Golden Globe win. The image that dominates lately has been one of a harried, no-frills suburban mom. Not anymore. Sex appeal is a proven commodity for actresses looking to dance with Oscar, who, by the way, loves to embrace crime-chasers. Consider past award victories by Jodie Foster ("Silence of the Lambs") and Frances McDormand ("Fargo").

-- Tom O'Neil

Photo: Jennifer Garner in "Arthur" (Warner Bros)

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