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Before They Were Oscar Nominees

Jonah Hill as a hotdog mascot

Jonah Hill as a hotdog mascot

The speculation about the Oscar hopefuls ended the night when the winners were finally revealed during the 86th Academy Awards ceremony last last March 2nd. Some of the talent from the night will use their Oscar win as a leg up for exciting projects, and others you may not hear from again. We don’t know what the future holds but we do know that many of the nominees have taken long and interesting paths to the Academy Awards.

Some on our list came out of their earlier works unscathed, like Jennifer Lawrence. Others, like Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused, are still trying to shake off their “alright alright alright” persona.

Here’s a few nominees and what some of their first tentative steps in the industry looked like.

1. Matthew McConaughey – Dazed And Confused

The only thing that’s embarrassing about Matthew McConaughey’s screen debut in Dazed & Confused is his 70s hair. If the Fonz could be reincarnated, it would be in the form of McConaughey’s David Wooderson, the man who loves chasing young tail. This role brought little recognition to McConaughey back in 1993, and it would be a few years before he was a household name, but his appearance is now known as one of the best character introductions in film history. Fast forward to 2014 and his now iconic southern drawl of a catchphrase “alright, alright, alright” is repeated with every award win.

2. Sandra Bullock – Love Potion No. 9

Before she was a bonafide breakout star in Speed and While You Were Sleeping, Sandra Bullock was a 28-year-old aspiring thespian, who had only been in a handful of projects. None of which made her stand out. In Love Potion No. 9, she starred alongside Tate Donovan. It was an embarrassingly horrible romcom that saw Sandy in some pretty hilarious prosthetic teeth and some frizzy hair.

This was before Bullock was primped and primed to be America’s Sweetheart. Still, she was endearing to audiences even though the movie tanked.

3. Leonardo DiCaprio – Growing Pains

Leonardo DiCaprio has been making smart decisions since he entered the business, but there are some projects that show remnants of a child actor trying to figure out his best case for exposure. While such a path resulted in the misstep that was Critters 3, it was his role in the television series Growing Pains that showed signs of his teen heartthrob status and acting chops. DiCaprio was only in the show for a “blink and you’ll miss it” role as a runaway named Luke, who joined the Seaver family in the last year of the series.

4. Jennifer Lawrence – My Super Sweet 16

When looking for Jennifer Lawrence’s possible missteps absolutely nothing stands out. Aside from making rite of passage guest appearances on shows like Medium, Cold Case, and Monk, there’s not too much we can peg on Lawrence. For instance, her first huge feature was Winter’s Bone, which she was nominated for an Academy Award at the age of 20. The only thing that’s remotely cringe worthy is a 14-year-old Lawrence paying her dues in MTV’s My Super Sweet 16 commercial.

5. Jonah Hill – Click

Jonah Hill has been slowly working on making a transition into drama, but it wasn’t too long ago that he was playing a hot dog (see above) in the film Accepted. In fact, Hill’s career is full of “embarrassing” moments for a “serious” Oscar nominated actor. In 2006 Hill had the opportunity to play Adam Sandler’s 17-year-old son Ben, in the surprisingly poignant film Click. Unfortunately for Hill this was just the first of many jokes played on his fluctuating weight. Any material worth having in this role went to Dustin Hoffman’s son Jake Hoffman, who oddly enough reunited with Hill in this year’s The Wolf of Wall Street.

USA Herald