updated 08/25/2015 AT 8:16 PM ET
•originally published 01/16/2014 AT 1:00 PM ET
Whether it was the role of a heel-kicking news boy or an overenthusiastic camp counselor, all of this year’s Oscar nominees got their start somewhere.
Their lucky breaks came long before the celebrated roles that Leonardo DiCaprio, Sandra Bullock and the rest of the nominated actors are known for today. These big and small screen gigs pushed 2014’s Oscar contenders forward from random headshot to household name.
In fact, it it wasn’t for his humble beginnings, the world would never know about Christian Bale’s lasso dance skills. Ponder that, then enjoy the current Oscar class at a time when they were innocent, unpolished and occasionally permed.
Warning: Some videos contain graphic language
Best Actor Nominees
Leonardo DiCaprio in Growing Pains (1991-92)
Christian Bale in Newsies (1992)
Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused (1993)
Best Actress Nominees
Amy Adams in Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999)
Sandra Bullock in Hangmen (1987)
Meryl Streep in The Deer Hunter (1978)
Best Supporting Actor Nominees
Bradley Cooper in Wet Hot American Summer (2001)
Michael Fassbender in Heart and Bones (2001)
Jonah Hill in 40-Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Jared Leto in My So-Called Life (1994-95)
Best Supporting Actress Nominees
Julia Roberts in Mystic Pizza (1988)
Jennifer Lawrence in My Super Sweet Sixteen Commercials (2004)
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