You Know You're an Actor When...

Academy Award Nominees, Before They Were Stars

academy award nomineesWe’re so excited to see the announcement for this year’s Oscar nominations! We love trying to guess who will win and debating our favorite performances and the best films of the year. There’s so much great talent this year, the Academy Awards and other shows are sure to be a blast!

It’s also fun to reflect on how even the brightest stars had to get started on smaller roles and go through a learning process to get to where they are today. We love looking back to see how they made it big, and it’s valuable for acting students and other performers to see that success doesn’t look like a straight line and stardom doesn’t happen overnight. Take a look at just a few nominees’ roads to fame and you’ll see what we mean!

For example, one of this year’s favorite Academy Award nominees for Best Actress, Cate Blanchett, has been working in theater and film for twenty years. Before making it big, she studied acting at Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art. After graduating in 1992, Blanchett spent five years acting on stage, making her feature film debut in 1997′s Paradise Road.

This year, Blanchett’s performance in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine has critics raving. Looks like her years of work, study, and honing her craft are paying off wonderfully!

Another popular Academy Award nominee, Chiwetel Ejiofor, also spent many years studying acting and performing in theater before he appeared in major film roles. Nominated for best actor for his part in 12 Years a Slave, Ejiofor is also known for roles in films like Amistad and Children of Men. 

Before breaking into film, Ejiofor began acting in school and performing in his community’s youth theater productions. He went on to study acting at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. Ejiofor actually dropped out of the Academy after just a year when he was offered a role in Steven Spielberg’s 1995 film Amistad. 

Jared Leto, another talented actor and musician, is in the spotlight this year. Leto’s performance in Dallas Buyers Club generated tons of critical buzz and earned him an Oscar nomination this year for Best Supporting Actor. Before his standout role in the 1994 television series My So-Called Life, Leto grew up studying music, art, and drama. He would go on to appear in The Thin Red LineGirl, Interrupted, and Requiem for a Dream.

He is also known for his band 30 Seconds to Mars, whose second album went platinum in 2005. Leto is truly multi-talented and hard working.

Jennifer Lawrence is another popular favorite this year, up for Best Supporting Actress for her role in American Hustle. Her spunky personality and roles in Silver Linings Playbook and The Hunger Games have skyrocketed her into the spotlight. Although she seems to have appeared on the red carpet overnight, Lawrence too spent time honing her craft.

As a teenager, Lawrence acted in school plays. Determined to pursue acting as a career, Lawrence finished high school two years early and went to New York City to find an agent. Before landing her first big role on The Bill Engvall Show, Lawrence did small parts and commercials, including an MTV promo for Season 2 of My Super Sweet 16. 

Each of these Academy Award nominees’ stories shows that success in acting comes from working hard and staying humble enough to take on what may seem to be small roles. If you are truly determined to become an actor or actress, the time you spend studying and practicing now will pay off later. After all, as long as you keep trying you can only get better!

If you’re looking for guidance or a little extra push, taking private lessons in acting, music, or performing arts can be a great place to start. Your teacher can give you personal attention and mentoring, helping you to live up to your full potential. Search for your perfect acting, music, or performing arts teacher and take another step toward living your dreams today!

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