Vera Farmiga

A dramatic actress with a flair for creating characters with subtle complexities, Vera Farmiga was born to Ukrainian immigrants in Passaic, N.J., on Aug. 6, 1973. Thanks to her insular upbringing, she didn't learn English until the age of 6; as a teen, she toured with a troupe of Ukrainian folk dancers.

Though Farmiga appeared on Broadway and enjoyed a brief run on television in the police procedural "UC: Undercover," she's best known for her work in a mix of independent and mainstream films. Just two years after winning a Special Jury Prize at Sundance for her portrayal of a cocaine addict in Down to the Bone (2004), she starred as a police psychiatrist in The Departed.

In 2009, Farmiga played opposite George Clooney in writer-director Jason Reitman's drama Up in the Air. Her supporting performance garnered critical acclaim, along with Golden Globe, Oscar and BAFTA nominations.