Gramercy Pictures/Everett Collection; Steve Granitz/WireImage
Kelli Bender
January 16, 2014 01:00 PM

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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