- Began competing in figure skating at age 4 and continued with the sport until she was 18.
- Performed Shakespeare at the Original Kids Theatre in her home town at the age of 12.
- First TV performance was as a girl with bulimia in a 2001 episode of The Famous Jett Jackson.
- Prepared for her role of Southern belle Allie Hamilton in The Notebook (2004) by taking etiquette lessons.
- Won a 2005 MTV Movie Award for Breakthrough Female for her role in Mean Girls and also shared one with Notebook costar Ryan Gosling for Best Kiss.
- Arrived at a photo shoot for the March 2006 issue of Vanity Fair magazine only to bow out at the last minute because she reportedly had a change of heart about posing nude.
- Voiced a polar bear in a 2015 video by Greenpeace, highlighting the dangers of Arctic oil drilling.
- 2015, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Winner
- 2015, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 2015, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Supporting Actress: Nominee
- 2015, Critics' Choice Awards — Best Actress in a Movie Made for Television or Limited Series: Nominee
- 2015, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 2006, BAFTA Film Awards — Rising Star Award: Nominee
- 2002, Genie Awards — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
- 2011, Screen Actors Guild Awards — Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture: Nominee
- 2016, Independent Spirit Awards — Robert Altman Award: Winner
- Michael Sheen — Ex-significant Other
- Josh Lucas — Ex-significant Other
- Sandy McAdams — Mother
- Kayleen — Sister
- Lance McAdams — Father
- Daniel McAdams — Brother
- Ryan Gosling — Ex-significant Other
- York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (BFA in Theater, 2001)