Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence)
You’d think the Team Edward vs. Team Jacob debate would have given way to Team Bella vs. Team Katniss. After all, the Twilight heroine has now been supplanted in the popular imagination of young readers and moviegoers by the forest gladiator of Suzanne Collins’ trilogy. It’s probably not a fair comparison. Still, Lawrence’s dynamic warrior seems to have a built-in edge over Kristen Stewart’s passive, curiously blank vampire bride.
Katniss is not only a skilled fighter, but she’s also a canny manipulator – of potential beau Peeta, of the bread-and-circuses media, and even of the politicians of Panem. She’s selfless and compassionate, whether she’s taking her kid sister’s place as a draftee or mercy-killing a wounded opponent. Still, she’s only 16 and doesn’t yet know her own heart, which makes her flawed enough to be relatable.
Where did Lawrence get the steely resolve needed to play her? (Her Oscar-nominated performance as a teen protecting her rural family from scary meth dealers in Winter’s Bone offers a clue.) Her Katniss may display a hint of liquid-eyed guilt or remorse at having to take an enemy down, but she’ll still do it, quick as an arrow.