Julia Garner reigns as queen of Netflix with ‘Inventing Anna’ and ‘Ozark’

Just as Netflix watchers have gotten used to Julia Garner as Southern spitfire Ruth Langmore on “Ozark,” the actress reinvented herself this TV season with “Inventing Anna.” The limited series, also streaming on Netflix, tells the real-life story of Anna Sorokin, a con artist who presented herself as a German heiress named Anna Delvey. Over the course of four years in the mid-2010s she would run scams on New York society elite before being found guilty on eight charges, including attempted grand larceny, and sentenced to four to 12 years in prison.

The acclaimed show presents Garner in a fascinating new light, one that could lead to even more awards recognition for the shape-shifting actress, who has already won two Emmys for her scene-stealing turn on “Ozark.”  Viewers of “Inventing Anna” will first pick up on Sorokin’s strange hybrid accent, which blends Russian and German with a sprinkling of American.

Those unfamiliar with Sorokin’s accent may be thrown off, but Garner insists that she studied the scammer’s vocal habits extensively as she was preparing for the part. She also researched Sorokin’s mannerisms, the way she pushed up her glasses at specific moments in a conversation or played with her hair. The series explores Sorokin’s unique charisma and her remarkable skills of persuasion in selling a bill of goods to her unsuspecting victims, with Garner having the tricky task of finding truth underneath her character’s layers of artifice.

“Inventing Anna” is one of the biggest breakout hits of the year. Since its February 11 release on Netflix, it has firmly stayed in the top 10 of all English-language series on the streaming service, with millions continuing to watch the show every week. This kind of popularity combined with Garner’s Emmy magnet status could make for a potent combination at this year’s awards.

After another standout season on “Ozark,” Garner is sure to reap another Emmy bid for that role this year. Academy voters are clearly fans of the actress, and that fandom might extend to showing her some love in the ultra-competitive Best TV/Movie Limited Series Actress category. The transformative nature of her performance is of a piece with other turns that are irresistible to her fellow actors, giving Garner the kind of VIP status to which Sorokin always aspired.

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