PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Oscars predictions are hot right now as we await the official nominations in January.
At the top of the list is Da'Vine Joy Randolph, a Philadelphia native and Temple University alumna, for her role in "The Holdovers."
"The support from my people at home means so much to me," Randolph says.
From TV to film, Mt Airy's Da'Vine Joy Randolph has been lighting up Hollywood.
Her latest role is cafeteria matron Mary Lamb in "The Holdovers," a character with rough edges and a soft center.
"Something that I loved about this was that it's complicated," Randolph says. "It's authentic."
In the film, Mary's son recently died in the Vietnam War. She stays back at the boarding school, cooking for the so-called holdovers stuck on campus during Christmas break.
"This could maybe be an anthem movie for people who are going through stuff and having different experiences on their holiday," Randolph says. "It's that idea that sometimes your chosen family can be closer to you than your blood relatives."
Speaking of family, Da'Vine credits hers, and this city, for leading her to this career.
"At a young age, my parents saw something in me," she explains. "They knew it was something around the arts and culture. I'm so grateful to Philadelphia, in particular, for having such amazing arts programs and institutions for children. It created and cultivated a space for me."
When it comes to Oscar buzz, she's humble.
"I'm just so overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude," she says. "I never could have imagined this and how this is going. I owe a lot of that to Philadelphia. That is my foundation. It provided a space for me to grow as an artist."
The film also stars Paul Giamatti as a cranky teacher.
"It's a movie about people and empathy," he says, "and what it means to have compassion. It's really nice. It's funny, too."
Ocean City, New Jersey's Dominic Sessa plays the one student spending Christmas at school. This is his film debut.
"I could not have asked for a better people to work with for this first experience," Sessa says of his breakout role.
"The Holdovers" is in theaters now.