Before They Made It Big: 8 Oscar®-Nominated Stars and Their First Big Roles

So who’s got Oscar® fever? *Waves hand wildly in the air* Sadly since I’m in the U.K., I’ll be catching some much-needed Zzz’s while the ceremony airs on Sunday. However, I’m taping it and plan to do nothing on Monday but gaze at a lot of fabulous frocks and listen to endless speeches. What can we expect from this year’s ceremony? Well, with Ellen presenting, I am certain it is going to be amazingly funny. (I still fondly remember the last time she hosted and asked Steven Spielberg — reasoning he might know how to hold a camera or two — to take a pic of her having a ball in the auditorium.)

Plus we’ve got a whole host of A-list stars nominated: Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Matthew McConaughey, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Leonardo DiCaprio, Bradley Cooper, Jared Leto, Christian Bale, and Sandra Bullock to name a few.

Of course, some stars have been nominated and have even won before (SEE: Streep, Roberts, Bale, and Bullock). But what about before they made it big? Before their breakout movie roles in films like Titanic or Pretty Woman. Before their Oscar® nods appeared. Did anyone watch Grandma’s Boy or Psycho Beach Party? Me neither.

Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and look at our dashing Oscar® nominees before they were famous. (And also before they had stylists or eyebrow tweezers…).  Any you recognize?

  • Leonardo DiCaprio in Critters 3 | Age: 17 1 of 8
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    Leonardo Dicaprio had starred in a number of TV series in his younger days (SEE: Roseanne, Santa Barbara, The New Lassie), but his first Hollywood movie was Critters 3 in 1991. Have you seen it? Me neither. It was a long time before Marty came a'calling. But after his role in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, he filmed The Quick and the DeadThe Basketball Diaries, Romeo and Juliet and then ... Titanic. Then the world went Leo crazy. All kudos to him for making great career choices, but an Oscar® win has eluded him. This year he is nominated as best actor for The Wolf of Wall Street. Will he beat McConaughey to the punch? Only time will tell.

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Christian Bale in Newsies | Age: 18 2 of 8
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    Bale made his name initially as a child actor, aged 13, starring in Empire of the Sun, directed by Spielberg no less. TV Movies took up the next few years until Newsies...  When he sprang onto our screens in Newsies in 1992, he was all singing and dancing — about as far away from The Dark Knight as you could get! The film is a musical based on the New York City newsboy strike of 1899. Bale plays the lead, Jack Kelly, a young homeless newspaper seller who is exploited beyond reason by his bosses. Jack, along with his fellow newspaper selling buddies, sets out to enact change. It wasn't until 2000's American Psycho that Bale's career began to gather momentum, and then came the unforgettable Batman trilogy. Bale has become famous for his dramatic transformations on screen — losing an incredible amount of weight for The Machinist and also for his Oscar®-winning supporting role in The Fighter. This year he is nominated for another David O. Russell film, American Hustle, this time in the leading actor category. 

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Julia Roberts in Mystic Pizza | Age: 21 3 of 8
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    Technically Julia Roberts had already starred in band movie Satisfaction (so bad, it is in fact good) with Liam Neeson in 1988, but in the same year she filmed the little sleeper hit movie, Mystic Pizza. (It also provided Matt Damon with his movie debut in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it scene.) Roberts plays Daisy Arujo one of three sisters who all waitress at the local pizza restaurant, Mystic Pizza. It may be corny, but it has a certain charm. Two years later Roberts filmed Steel Magnolias, earning an Oscar® nod and cementing her star status. But it was 1990's Pretty Woman that made her the biggest female star in Hollywood. Roberts has had four Oscar® nominations in total and won for Erin Brockovich in 2001. This year she is nominated in the best supporting actress category for her amazing turn in August: Osage County

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Jonah Hill in Grandma’s Boy | Age: 23 4 of 8

    Jonah Hill had teeny weeny walk-on roles in I Heart Huckabees and 40-Year-Old Virgin, and then along came 2006's Grandma's BoyThe comedy focused on a 35-year-old video game tester, Alex, who had to move in with his grandma and her two old lady roommates. Hilarity ensues. Jonah plays Barry, one of Alex's co-workers. The film had a weak critical reception (no surprise there) but has since gained a cult-following. Fast forward to 2011 when Moneyball proved Jonah did in fact have acting chops. And when Marty came calling, Jonah jumped at the chance to support DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street — which earned him a best supporting actor Oscar® nod.  

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Michael Fassbender in Hearts and Bones | Age: 24 5 of 8
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    Back in 2001 Michael Fassbender was just a fresh-faced actor who had a role in the 13-part drama Hearts and Bonesa U.K. drama. Eight years later and his big break came in his first Steve McQueen-directed film, Hunger. From there he jumped to Fish Tank (amazing!) and Inglourious BasterdsHe's making his mark this awards season for his chilling role in 12 Years a Slave, my personal favorite film of the year. He faces stiff competition for the best supporting actor Oscar®, with many thinking that Jared Leto will take home the gold statue. However, I am certain Fassbender will hold an Oscar® in his fist one of these days, as he is an astonishing actor.

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Bradley Cooper in Wet Hot American Summer | Age: 26 6 of 8
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    Forgive Bradley the hair, he is playing a summer camp counsellor circa 1981. Yes, 2002's Wet Hot American Summer was Bradley Cooper's first foray into Hollywood film roles, having only done a TV movie and an episode of Sex and the City before this. He must have thought it would be a surefire hit with esteemed comedians like Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, and Janeane Garofalo all starring in it. It wouldn't be until 2009 that Bradley would star in his breakout movie The Hangover. Now he is Oscar®-nominated for his role in American Hustle. Funny enough, his hair isn't too great in that movie either (especially in the perm curlers!). 

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Amy Adams in Psycho Beach Party | Age: 26 7 of 8
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    Just after Amy Adam's first feature film, Drop Dead Gorgeous, in 1999, she appeared in the movie Psycho Beach Party. No Oscar® nods for this one. The film is a spoof of 1960's Beach Party/Gidget surfing movies mixed with a slasher horror film. No, it wasn't a box office hit, but Adams' career has been nothing short of stellar ever since. She's been Oscar®-nominated no less than four times for best supporting actress for her roles in Junebug, Doubt, The Fighterand The Master. This year is the first time she has been nominated for lead actress, for her role in American Hustle.  

    Photo credit: YouTube

  • Sandra Bullock in Love Potion No. 9 | Age: 28 8 of 8
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    This is in fact Sandra Bullock pre-Oscar®, pre-Speed, pre-stylist! Sandra had appeared in a few made-for-TV movies and starred in the TV show Working Girl, but her first Hollywood film was Love Potion No. 9 in 1992 with Tate Donovan. The premise? Tate Donovan plays Paul Matthews, a geeky biochemist who has no luck whatsoever with the ladies. He is persuaded to visit a gypsy, Madame Ruth, who gives him "Love Potion No. 8," an elixir which can force anyone of the opposite sex to instantly fall in love with him. He kindly shares the potion with his equally geeky friend, Diane, and together they embark on a "scientific experiment" that gets out of hand. Obviously Sandy goes from geek to chic. Then two years later she won the lead female role in Speed and her star ascended. This year Sandy is nominated in the best actress Oscar® category for her wonderful role in Gravity

    Photo credit: YouTube

Article Posted 3 years Ago

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