Award season doesn't get underway for a couple more months, but Hollywood is already buzzing about two young actresses whom we can expect to see plenty of on the red carpet this year: Lizzie Olsen and Jessica Chastain.
Olsen, 22 -- and yes, sister of the infamous "Full House" twins -- and Chastain, 30, have been generating award chatter throughout the year for their work in a number of films that have been well-received on the festival circuit. Both were on hand Thursday a the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s annual luncheon to help present financial grants to film schools and nonprofit organizations.
Olsen, currently finishing up her last year at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, made waves at the Sundance Film Festival in January for her role in the dark indie "Martha Marcy May Marlene." (Say that twice.) Since the Park City, Utah, event, she said, she's been offered a handful of new scripts and roles.
The Sundance experience "upped the game a little bit," Olsen said on the HFPA red carpet. "All of a sudden, I got to be part of a circle of young actors who are considered for parts that I always looked up to ..."
"Martha," set for release in October, is already sparking Oscar hype -- which, predictably, Olsen said she's trying to ignore.
"I'd rather not make any hopes or expectations because the movie hasn't even come out yet. Critically, it did well among the festival circuit, but you never know what's gonna happen," she said.
Meanwhile, Chastain caused a stir at Cannes with "The Tree of Life," will appear as a ditzy blond next week in "The Help," and has about a half-dozen other films set for release over the coming months.
When asked if she was prepared for the onslaught of attention set to come her way, she answered bluntly: "Uh -- yeah!"
"You know, I've worked for so long, and it's wonderful for me to have people see the films because I think they're great films and I'm really proud of the performances in them," she said.
-- Amy Kaufman
Photos: Elizabeth Olsen, left, and Jessica Chastain at the annual Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. installation luncheon in Beverly Hills on Aug. 4, 2011. Credits: Fred Prouser / Reuters.