From PEOPLE Magazine Click to enlarge
Yes, Anna Kendrick is tight enough with George Clooney to ask him for awards-season advice. ("He basically said the Oscars are just nerve-wracking.") But being buds with one A-lister doesn't mean you don't lose your cool around others. "Just because you know George," says Kendrick, "doesn't mean your heart doesn't stop when you see Julia Roberts."

Lately it's Kendrick, 24, who has been leaving people starstruck. Holding her own as a corporate go-getter opposite Clooney in Up in the Air, the onetime Tony nominee (at 12!) scored her first Oscar nomination on the heels of her scene-stealing role as Kristen Stewart's (nonvampire) pal in the Twilight franchise. "I feel like I should spend the next month at a spa, because there's no way I'm going to be ready to go to the Oscars," she says. "I have no idea what to expect."

Although she downplays her odds of winning—"I'm guessing I'll be able to enjoy the comfort of my seat, and that's fine with me"—she has plenty of experience taking the stage. Raised in Portland, Maine, by an accountant mom and history-teacher dad, Kendrick started doing community theater at age 6 and landed on Broadway in High Society at 12. "There's a sense of invincibility at that age," she says of the singing role that earned her a Tony nod. "I think if I had understood the gravity, it would have freaked me out. So I just enjoyed the ride."

That's what she's doing now, even if she finds herself in rarefied company. "At the Haiti telethon I found myself between Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon and Steven Spielberg, and they were all going out of their way to be so incredibly nice," she says. As for her growing fan base, Kendrick has a quick test for identifying those who love her from Twilight. "You can instantly tell which movie they know you from," she quips, "by the volume they're at."

Kendrick returns to Twilight mania with the release of Eclipse in June. And she'll star with Michael Cera in the comedy Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Meantime, she's hunting for a really great dress. "I have an idea of what an Oscar nominee should look like, but that image is Penélope Cruz or Kate Winslet," she says. "There's that strange moment where you realize you're going to go and be you, but you're going to try to look like them. It's so ridiculous to me that I even get to go."

  • Contributors:
  • Mary Green/N.Y.C..