In Les Miserables, singing in the rain is hardly a glorious feeling. And Eponine is definitely not happy again.
Samantha Barks, who played the role of Eponine onstage in London for a year, is another potential player for supporting actress, though she’s something of a longshot since co-star Hathaway is such a dominant player in that category.
Barks, who is 22, could join those other young, first-time actresses who hit the Oscar jackpot in their debut, such as Gabourey Sidibe for Precious, Hailee Steinfeld for True Grit, or Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls.
Those actresses and performances are radically different from each other, but the common denominator is emotion. Each one made moviegoers feel something deeply. This song, “On My Own,” which follows her realization that Cosette is likely to win Marius’ heart instead of her, will fulfill that and then some.
Academy voters may feel that this Les Miserables breakthrough is enough reward itself for the young actress, but regular moviegoers are sure to swoon for Barks’ Eponine. It’s Marius’ loss.