In "Poor Things," Emma Stone embraced an offbeat challenge: playing a Victorian-era woman who dies by suicide, is brought back to life with the brain of her unborn child by a mad scientist and embraces a journey of bold self-discovery.

Her risky, no-holds barred female take on the Frankenstein myth paid off, and Stone now has a second Academy Award for best actress on her shelf, putting her on par with legends like Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster and Elizabeth Taylor.

The 35-year-old Arizona native took home the Oscar on Sunday, besting Lily Gladstone ("Killers of the Flower Moon"), Annette Bening ("Nyad"), Sandra Hueller ("Anatomy of a Fall") and Carey Mulligan ("Maestro").

"It's not about me. It's about a team that came together to make something greater than the sum of its parts," Stone said as she accepted her award.

"And that is the best part about making movies, it's all of us together."

Stone's first Oscar came in 2017 for her turn as struggling actress Mia in dreamy musical romance "La La Land," an ode to Hollywood's Golden Age.

But in "Poor Things," directed by Greece's Yorgos Lanthimos, she created a much more daring character in Bella Baxter.

Bella at first speaks in a sort of pidgin English and gradually learns proper speech; she dances awkwardly, but with unbridled joy; and she is naked -- quite a lot -- as she gleefully explores the pleasures of what she calls "furious jumping."

But as she matures, Bella finds her newfound freedom threatened by men who are seduced by her nonconformism and yet want to possess her.

Bella is without shame or judgment -- a trait that Stone has emphasized often as she has accepted a slew of awards in the run-up to the Oscars.

"Bella falls in love with life itself, rather than a person. She accepts the good and the bad in equal measure, and that really made me look at life differently," Stone said at the Golden Globes in January.

Fruitful creative partnership 

Stone -- who now has four Oscar acting nominations and a fifth as producer of "Poor Things" for best picture -- has repeatedly said that this is her favorite role yet.

"Restarting from scratch, that was a very inspiring part of Bella," she said at the Globes. "It was about unlearning things more than tapping into things from my past, which was really beautiful and very freeing."

The film has cemented her collaboration with Lanthimos, who has become a sort of creative soulmate since they met nearly a decade ago.

He directed her to her third Oscar nomination for "The Favourite," a reimagining of English history in which she played a downtrodden servant who aspires to much more, and worms her way into Queen Anne's heart and bed.

The pair also worked on the 2022 short film "Bleat," and have two more projects in development including "Kinds of Kindness," the plot of which has been kept under wraps.

Lanthimos calls Stone "an incredible actress."

"It makes it so much easier to have someone there who trusts you so much, and who you trust so much," he told The Guardian in December.

From reality TV to two Oscar wins 

Born Emily Jean Stone in Scottsdale, Arizona on November 6, 1988 to a homemaker mother and businessman father, Stone began acting in youth theater in Phoenix -- in part to control her anxiety.

At just 14 years old, she made a PowerPoint presentation entitled "Project Hollywood" to persuade her parents to allow her to drop out of school and pursue a movie career.

The pitch worked -- she and her mother moved to Los Angeles, where Stone was home-schooled between auditions.

She got her start on the VH1 talent search show "In Search of the Partridge Family" and actually won the role of Laurie Partridge over other contenders, but the subsequent sitcom died after one episode.

After a series of bit roles on television, she made her big screen debut in 2007 in coming-of-age teen flick "Superbad," co-written by Seth Rogen and produced by Judd Apatow.

She has appeared in more than 25 movies since then, but really came to the fore as a major talent in "The Help," Tate Taylor's 2011 drama about the racism faced by Black maids in 1960s Mississippi.

A string of hit films followed, including two "Spider-Man" movies, "Crazy, Stupid Love" and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu's "Birdman," which earned Stone her first Oscar nomination for best supporting actress.

Then came "La La Land" and "The Favourite."

Stone has taken on some unexpected roles, including tennis legend Billie Jean King in "Battle of the Sexes" (2017), and Disney villain Cruella de Vil in 2021 prequel "Cruella."

On television, the actress, who is married to comedian and writer Dave McCary, has earned praise for two quirky TV shows -- "Maniac" and "The Curse."

The couple has one daughter, Louise.