Lionsgate confirmed this afternoon that 20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence, whose blisteringly fine work in Winter’s Bone earned her an Oscar nomination, has landed the coveted role of Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. In director Gary Ross’ adaptation of the first installment to Suzanne Collins’ beloved trilogy, Lawrence will play the 16-year-old tribute from District 12 who’s forced by a vicious government to participate in an annual reality TV death match. “Jennifer’s just an incredible actress,” praised Collins in a statement. “So powerful, vulnerable, beautiful, unforgiving and brave. I never thought we’d find somebody this perfect for the role. And I can’t wait for everyone to see her play it.” Filming is set to begin later this spring with Lionsgate planning a March 23, 2012 release date.