A top candidate for breakout actress of the year is certainly Carey Mulligan, the 24-year-old Brit who’d only had supporting parts in two films (she was one of Keira Knightley’s little sisters in Pride & Prejudice) when she scored the plum lead role in An Education (in theaters next Friday, Oct. 9). As precocious London schoolgirl Jenny, Mulligan not only holds her own opposite castmates Peter Sarsgaard, Emma Thompson, Alfred Molina, and Sally Hawkins, but she completely carries the film, which was written by novelist Nick Hornby and directed by Danish filmmaker Lone Scherfig. And as you’ll see when you click play on Part 1 of our OscarWatch interview, she’s going to charm the pants off the Academy and should have no problem scoring a Best Actress nomination.

Watch me and Missy Schwartz rave about Mulligan in our Best Actress chat. And follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for Oscar updates all season long. My interview with Mulligan is after the jump.

More OscarWatch interviews:

Abbie Cornish: Part 1, Part 2

Colin Firth

Clive Owen

Michael Moore: Part 1, Part 2

Matt Damon: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3