Hollywood often makes women out of girls. And every once in a while, those coming-of-age performances lead to Oscar buzz, as was the case at Tuesday’s West Coast premiere of “Thirteen.” Thanks to her raw emotional portrayal of a teen gone bad, Evan Rachel Wood stands poised to emerge as the year’s breakout star. Holly Hunter, who plays her troubled mom, is no slouch in the acting department, either. “I think I actually learned more from the girls than I taught them,” said Hunter, who looked more like Wood’s sexy older sister in a chiffon top and tight pants.

Wood, meanwhile, said she’s “bad with clothes,” though her Miu Miu minidress indicated otherwise. “I didn’t even know Miu Miu existed,” she said breezily, “but isn’t it great?” The 15-year-old actress perked up considerably at the mention of driving. “I’ll be 16 next month, and I can’t wait to get my license,” she sighed. All the better since she might have to start thinking about red-carpet gowns — and driving herself to all those fittings.

This story first appeared in the August 14, 2003 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

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