It's hard to believe now, but back in 1999 Angelina Jolie received only fourth billing for Mike Newell's Pushing Tin. It's even harder to believe that the names in front of her are John Cusack, Billy Bob Thornton and Cate Blanchett. So pervasive is the Angelina Jolie brand in 2010, a brand she's held strong for at least half a decade now, that the suggestion she was ever that girl in the Meat Loaf video seems impossible.

But before '99, the best shot she had of attending the Oscars was on the arm of her father, Jon Voight. When she won the Best Supporting Actress trophy that year for Girl, Interrupted, everything changed. Six months later she'd prove her blockbuster worth on the set of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and a star would be born.

In the years since she's wowed mainstream and indie audiences to equal measure, with starring roles in the likes of Wanted, Changeling and Mr. & Mrs. Smith. And she's often the best part of duds like Beowulf, Sky Captain and Alexander. But it's the film which hit cinemas just before the Oscar win, Pushing Tin, in which we find Jolie's most engaging performance. It's not a showstopper. It was never going to land her an Oscar. But it's emblematic of the enigmatic Jolie we know today and an example of her power, both with audiences and with men.
categories Columns, Cinematical