Fresh off an Academy Award nomination for her powerful role in Winter’s Bone, Jennifer Lawrence is gearing up for a major Hollywood career. Not only is the 20-year-old actress appearing as Raven Darkholme/Mystique in the upcoming X-Men prequel, X-Men: First Class, but new rumors suggest that Lawrence is also up for the lead role in The Hunger Games.

According to an exclusive report from Lainey Gossip, Lawrence is allegedly the front-runner for the role of Katniss Everdeen. Citing unnamed sources, Lainey Gossip writes that Lawrence has read for the role and that the studio loved her audition.

Previously, we reported that fellow Academy Award nominee Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) was also up for the part. Steinfeld confirmed her audition for The Hunger Games during the Oscars. Either way it seems like Lionsgate and director Gary Ross are going to get an amazing young actress for this movie.

Jennifer Lawrence earned an Academy Award nomination for Winter’s Bone

So why would two actresses as talented as Lawrence and Steinfield be competing for a part in The Hunger Games? Because, if pre-production buzz is any indication, it just might be the next big teen franchise in Hollywood – and getting the lead would be huge for either actress.

For those unfamiliar with Suzanne Collins’ original novels, The Hunger Games is a dystopic sci-fi series focused on a competition in which two teens from each of the 12 districts in “Panem” (formerly the United States) fight each other to the death on live television. Think of it as Running Man for teens, only without Arnold Schwarzenegger and an extra dash of Kinji Fukasaku’s Battle Royale thrown in for good measure.

With teen-oriented sci-fi/fantasy films like Twilight and the recent I Am Number Four finding success at the box office, it’s easy to see why Lionsgate was interested in Collins’ books. Also, from what I’ve heard from those who’ve read them, The Hunger Games novels are relatively well-written and actually lend themselves nicely toward film adaptations.

If you had your pick of Lawrence of Steinfeld, who would you take? Lawrence is 20-years-old, but she can definitely play much younger. Steinfeld is 14, so she is closer to the actual age of the character (Katniss is 16 in the first novel). Remember, both are Academy Award nominees, so talent shouldn’t be a concern. What do you think?

Source: Lainey Gossip [via /Film]