Hilary Swank has twice won the Academy Award as best actress: for playing a boxer in Clint Eastwood's 2004 drama Million Dollar Baby, and for her gender-bending turn in Boys Don't Cry (1999, with Chloë Sevigny). Swank got her start in the early 1990s with small roles in movies and TV shows. Her first big break came with the movie The Next Karate Kid (1994), in a leading role that made good use of her background in swimming and gymnastics. In Boys Don't Cry she gave a stunning performance as a young woman who lived as a young man; Swank's Oscar for best actress led to bigger roles and bigger paychecks. (She reportedly was paid a mere $3,000 -- $75 per day -- for Boys Don't Cry.) Even so, what followed was less than impressive: small roles in The Gift (2000, with Keanu Reeves) and Insomnia (2002, starring Al Pacino), and a part in the big-budget flop The Core (2003). For Million Dollar Baby, Swank trained rigorously, put 20 extra pounds on her lean frame and turned in a performance that earned her a second Oscar.
Million Dollar Baby won the Oscar as the best film of 2004, and Swank’s co-star Morgan Freeman won the Oscar as best supporting actor… Some sources list Swank’s birthplace as Lincoln, Nebraska, which is the birthplace of Teena Brandon, the transvestite whose story was the basis for Boys Don’t Cry.