LOS ANGELES – It’s a pretty sweet time to be Patricia Arquette.
She’s a heavy favorite to take home an Oscar on Sunday night for her moving performance in “Boyhood,” and in less than two weeks, she stars in “CSI: Cyber,” the highly anticipated CBS drama that joins the world’s most successful TV franchise.
“I kind of feel like Superman and Clark Kent,” said Arquette the day after she took home a Golden Globe. “We’ll be shooting ‘CSI’ half the day and then I’ll go do press for ‘Boyhood’ and then come back and shoot some more.”
All the attention has been a long time coming. Yes, she won an Emmy in 2005 for her role on “Medium,” but mostly the 46-year-old actress has been flying under the radar. For years, her most buzzed-about role was as spouse to Nicolas Cage, a marriage that ended in 2001 after six years.
But Arquette has turned in impressive work ever since 1993’s “True Romance,” the Quentin Tarantino-penned cult film in which she unexpectedly ends up playing the heavy. More recently, she was a tough but tender business-savvy bar owner in HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire.”
But it’s “Boyhood,” the movie that director Richard Linklater shot over a period of 12 years, that reminded people how good Arquette can be.
“Watching her mature is touching beyond words,” wrote Star Tribune movie critic Colin Covert. “Rarely has there been such a powerful physical transformation by an actor.”
Arquette not only has a lock on the supporting actress Oscar, but “Boyhood” is practically neck and neck with “Birdman” for best picture.
Still, not that many people have seen the film. The world of “CSI,” by contrast, has never had any problem attracting viewers. The original drama just wrapped up its 15th season, making it the seventh-longest-running scripted series in prime-time history. Its two previous spinoffs, “CSI: Miami” and “CSI: New York,” each lasted more than nine years.
In this version, Arquette plays FBI special agent Avery Ryan, a cyber-psychologist who specializes in cases involving misuse of the Web and related gadgets. In the premiere, her team looks into how criminals use baby-cams to kidnap infants and put them on screens around the world for auction.
In addition to the harrowing cases, co-creator Anthony Zuiker promises that this “CSI’ will place a greater emphasis on the crime fighters’ personalities. At the tail end of the first episode, we learn Ryan is on an emotional crusade to track down a hacker who ruined her private practice.
“Usually with the ‘CSI’ franchise, it’s procedure, procedure, procedure. But this is a very character-driven show,” Zuiker said. “We have the opportunity to really take advantage of this multitude of talent — A-list actors from both movies and television.”
The cast includes Peter MacNicol, who won an Emmy as quirky attorney John Cage on “Ally McBeal,” and James Van Der Beek, who shot to fame for his title role on “Dawson’s Creek.”
But Arquette is clearly the star, appearing in just about every scene and making it clear that her character won’t take any guff.
“For 50 years, we’ve watched men cops with guns,” she sad. “So to be a woman in law enforcement on television, I think, is sort of important. It’s a powerful position for a woman to be in.”
Arquette was also drawn to the topical nature of cybercrimes. More than 30 major companies were hacked in 2014, including Target and Dairy Queen, both based in the Twin Cities.
“I don’t think we should hide from this. This is the reality, and it’s sort of like an ostrich burying its head in the sand to pretend it isn’t happening,” she said. “We might want to think about the products we’re using and keeping everything a little more low-tech. I know we’re all about convenience, convenience, convenience. Well, it’s pretty inconvenient when you get hacked.”
It’s technology, however, that will allow Arquette a massive audience during the Academy Awards. Last year, 43 million Americans tuned in for the broadcast.
“We made this little art movie that is having an incredible reception,” she said. “I just feel like I’m having a beautiful moment in my life. I’m grateful for everything.”