Randolph heads into Oscar territory with her role in 'The Holdovers,' which has already clinched her a Critics Choice Award and Golden Globe Award
The actress, 37, is up for Best Supporting Actress for her acclaimed performance in The Holdovers as Mary Lamb, a grieving mother and school cook staying at a New England boarding school over the 1970 Christmas holidays.
In her speech at the Globes, the actress said in part that her character Mary has "changed my life — you have made me feel seen in so many ways that I've never imagined, and I hope I've helped you all find your inner Mary. Because there's a little bit of her in all of us."
Read on to learn more about Randolph.
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Randolph graduated from the same college program as her Holdovers costar Paul Giamatti
Randolph stars opposite fellow awards-season favorite Paul Giamatti in The Holdovers — and the two even both attended the Yale School of Drama, with Randolph graduating with a master's degree in 2011 and Giamatti, 56, doing the same years earlier, after earning a bachelor's in English.
“What I'm grateful for is Yale taught us all the different styles of acting,” Randolph told PEOPLE in an interview earlier this month. “That’s been such an aid for me in my career as I've worked with some pretty big-name people.”
“What was so awesome about Paul was that he and I boxed the same. I was like, ‘Oh,’ and immediately we felt it. We knew," she went on. “The fact that we already were here as our baseline, we were like, ‘Okay, let's take this all the way.’ "
“She and I are very similar in some ways,” Giamatti told PEOPLE of his costar, adding as a caveat, “She's a better actor than me.”
Her first film and television roles didn't come until 2013
While Randolph studied theater in her youth, the Philadelphia native didn't appear in a feature film until 2013's Mother of George, or on TV until an episode of The Good Wife that same year.
She has run the genre gamut
Before The Holdovers, Randolph starred in comedies like Office Christmas Party (2016), Dolemite Is My Name (2019) and The Lost City (2022), and has even loaned her voice to animated films like Trolls World Tour (2020) and Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022).
In the television world, Randolph is known for her portrayal of Detective Williams on Hulu's hit crime comedy Only Murders in the Building, and also had notable turns on Empire, This Is Us, On Becoming a God in Central Florida and more.
She credits her success in part to letting go of control
Randolph told PEOPLE earlier this month that she is "grateful" for this current moment in her career, adding, “Every time I think I'm in control and trying to do something, it doesn't work. There's nothing on my résumé that I went after. Nothing… Life is life-ing, and it’s like, ‘Nope, you're not going to be in control.’ "
So at this point, the actress said, “I’m just hands off. I'm now like, ‘Okay, let's go. Wherever you see me next.’ When [The Holdovers] came to me, I was like, ‘Okay, this is where we're going next.’ "
That, explained Randolph, is her advice for fellow aspiring artists. “Just keep going and keep exploring,” she continued. “Because it's going to find you.”
This will be her first-ever Oscars appearance
Randolph has already cemented her red-carpet status this year with glam appearances at the Golden Globe and Critics Choice Awards, leaving with a trophy in hand after each — and this March will mark her first time at the Academy Awards.
Other nominees in the Best Supporting Actress category include Emily Blunt for Oppenheimer, Danielle Brooks for The Color Purple, America Ferrera for Barbie and Jodie Foster for Nyad.
Meanwhile, The Holdovers has a total of five nominations, including Best Picture.
The 96th Academy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, will air live on Sunday, March 10, from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, beginning at 7 p.m. ET.
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