These days, the one word on every moviegoer's lips is "Avatar." With the box-office receipts soaring, the love story and special effects fueling repeat views, and Oscar-buzz building, it's unlike anything we've seen since ... well, the last James Cameron feature film, 1997's "Titanic."
In the 12 years following that movie's release, stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet have made good on their promise, racking up instant classics and awards nods with equal aplomb. On Monday, we took a hard look at whether "Avatar" star Sam Worthington could use his momentum to launch a Leo-like career. Now, it's time to compare Cameron's leading ladies and look at why Zoe Saldana could become the next Winslet — or why such comparisons could leave the actress feeling as blue as her "Avatar" character.
What They Have in Common
The Breakthrough: Although Saldana seems like a fresh face, the 31-year-old actress is the latest example of Hollywood's "work for years to become an overnight success" reality. Her real breakthrough came in the 2000 dance film "Center Stage," a minor hit that led to solid work in everything from "Guess Who" to "The Terminal" to the infamous Britney Spears flick "Crossroads." Similarly, Winslet had a substantial back catalogue before she became a household name — having raised eyebrows in Ang Lee's "Sense and Sensibility," Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet" and, most notably, Peter Jackson's excellent "Heavenly Creatures."
Unlikely Beauties: Think of the words "Hollywood starlet," and you're unlikely to picture either Saldana or Winslet. Both have a unique beauty, which perhaps makes them more memorable. In "Titanic" and during the years since, Winslet has never been shy about showing her body — and defending its ample curves and fluctuating weight. Zoe Yadira Zaldaña Nazario, meanwhile, was born in New Jersey to a Dominican father and a Puerto Rican mother and grew up in the Dominican Republic. Much like Jessica Alba and Vin Diesel, she has an exotic, intriguing and almost indefinable look.