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Jennifer Aniston appears to have the sort of gold-coated career most actresses would give their right Louboutin for: 10 years on Friends and piles of romantic comedies with her name above the title, fabulous clothes and charming, sexy leading men to wear them for. What’s missing?

The little gold-coated man. “Jen is desperate for an Oscar,” an insider says. “She has been researching projects for a year that she could attach herself to, so as to insure a spot at next year’s ceremony.” And that means that for one of Hollywood’s perennial beauties, it’s going to get ugly!
 Ugly on purpose, that is, and Jen, 45, couldn’t be happier.

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Taking a page from the playbook of gorgeous actresses and hunky actors who’ve been willing to look bad for serious, Oscar-winning roles, Jen is temporarily turning in her membership card to the flaxen-haired, ever-adorable club to go drab and dowdy.

In Cake, now filming, she plays a woman in a support group for sufferers of chronic pain. The part requires her to sport a shorter, mousy hairstyle, little makeup, baggy, unflattering clothes and a huge fake scar on her cheek. “She’s also trying to gain 15 to 20 pounds,” says the source. “Jen knows the more weight she gains, the bigger her chances are of her role getting noticed.”

Jen has taken the indie road—less traveled, often more respected—before. In 1999 she donned an unbecoming waitress uniform for Office Space, the much-beloved, quirky comedy about corporate America.

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But good wasn’t enough! Then in 2002 came The Good Girl, a wry comedy in which she played a discount store cashier having an affair with her co-worker, Jake Gyllenhaal. Seen by some as slumming from the land of shiny, happy sitcom people, she convinced naysayers with loads of glowing reviews and nabbed a nomination for an Independent Spirit Award. “Jen thought she had it in the bag with Good Girl,” says the source.

“Now she knows she has to go even more extreme and show a side of herself no one has ever seen.”

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Jen, one of Cake’s executive producers, has even told fiancé Justin Theroux, 42, “that the wedding planning will have to be on hold until production on Cake is completed,” the source says. “She is giving this movie her complete focus. Once it wraps, Jen can get her body back quickly and finally take the plunge with Justin.”

On that day, no doubt, she will look more beautiful than ever. But for an Oscar, Jen hopes, drab is fab.

Do you think Jennifer Aniston is trying for an Oscar? Do you want her to win one? Tweet @OKMagazine and leave a comment below.

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