If you see Juliette Lewis and she's not looking too hot, we are happy to tell you that it has nothing to do with the car accident she was in a few nights ago.

So why she lookin' like such a mess?

Chances are you're seeing her in footage from Conviction (in theaters Oct. 15). She may not have much screen time, but no matter. Ms. Lewis is generating much Oscar buzz.

Lewis plays Roseanna Perry, a key witness against Kenny Waters (Sam Rockwell), a Massachusetts man who was wrongly convicted and sentenced to life behind bars for a murder he didn't commit. Based on a true story, Hilary Swank plays Waters' sister, Betty Anne, who put herself through law school in order to exonerate her brother.

Lewis completely transformed herself for the role—rotten teeth, a horrid New England accent, bad posture and an awful head of hair.

We first see Lewis in a courtroom scene, in which Roseanna testifies that Kenny told her he killed and robbed the victim, a local waitress. Fast forward 18 years and Betty Anne is visiting Roseanna hoping to get her help in freeing Kenny. Lewis does broken-down drunk very well.

"It's one of the most special things I have ever done," Lewis told me this summer. "It was a real challenge for me, and that's the kind of work I look for in drama—stuff that's rich and complex and moves people. I just hope it does that."

It certainly does.

Check out our exclusive clip above of said courtroom scene.

VIDEO: Marc Malkin's Gossip Guru review of Conviction

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