Before they graced our big screens as the A-list actors they’ve become, many of this year’s Oscar-nominated actors and actresses got their starts doing some interesting, sometimes hilarious, things. From cheesy commercials to minor (maybe even breakout) roles on sitcoms, here’s a look at 10 of the 2016 Oscar nominees from their earlier days.
Best Actor nominees
Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Luke Brower on Growing Pains
Before he outstretched his arms on the Titanic and won the hearts of women everywhere as a bona fide leading man, Leonardo DiCaprio, nominated for Best Actor for his role in The Revenant, had a recurring role on ‘80s and ‘90s family sitcom, Growing Pains. On the show, which starred Kirk and Candice Cameron (Fuller House), Tracey Gold, Alan Thicke, and Joanna Kerns, DiCaprio played a homeless boy taken in by the family. Shortly after, he snagged a lead role in This Boy’s Life with Robert De Niro, then captured Hollywood’s attention as a mentally handicapped boy in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, opposite Johnny Depp. The rest, as they say, is history. As we reminisce, check out a young and innocent DiCaprio in a scene from the sitcom that started it all.
Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
Dr. Tim Whatley, DDS on Seinfeld
Many of you already know about Bryan Cranston’s lead role as goofy patriarch Hal on early ‘00s sitcom, Malcolm in the Middle. The role for which he’s best known today – Walter White on Breaking Bad – is a much different dad than we saw portrayed through that comedy series’ six-year run. But did you also know Cranston appeared on another highly popular sitcom, even before Malcolm in the Middle? The versatile actor had a recurring role as Jerry Seinfeld’s dentist, Dr. Tim Whatley, on Seinfeld from 1994 through to 1997. Don’t believe us? Have a look at this clip from season six. Those comedic roles are a long way from bringing gangsters to their knees with one look as “Heisenberg,” a testament to his acting chops. In this latest nominated role, Cranston takes an even more dramatic turn, playing a popular Hollywood Communist screenwriter who ends up in jail and blacklisted.
Matt Damon, The Martian
Steamer Windsor in Mystic Pizza
We won’t bore you with the obvious: Matt Damon had a starring role in the film Good Will Hunting, which he also wrote alongside best friend Ben Affleck. Everyone knows that. But we bet you didn’t know that the actor, who’s nominated for Best Actor for his role in The Martian, had a one-line role in ‘80s coming-of-age cult classic film, Mystic Pizza, which starred a young Julia Roberts. Check out a clip below to see the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment where the actor got some insignificant screen time before becoming one of the most bankable stars in Hollywood.