Blast from the Past: 2014 Oscar Nominees in Their Earliest Roles

01/16/2014 at 01:00 PM EST

The big breaks of the 2014's Oscar nominess
Matthew McConaughey in Dazed and Confused and McConaughey at the 2014 Golden Globes
Gramercy Pictures/Everett Collection; Steve Granitz/WireImage
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)

Follow PEOPLE on Facebook!

Can't get enough of Red Carpet Season? Be one of the first to get the news from all the awards shows! Sign up below for our daily newsletter – so you'll be the first to know all about the winners, the best speeches and the most fabulous fashion.

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Bindi Irwin: Remembering My Dad
  • Bindi Irwin: Remembering My Dad
  • Adam Levine's Wedding Details!
  • James Garner: 1928-2014

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

blog comments powered by Disqus

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners