1 of 5
Nominated for: Best Actress, Silver Linings Playbook
’s acting career began in local theaters in her native Louisville, Ky., but she eventually moved on to TV shows, like Medium and Cold Case as a teen. She soon abandoned TV for movies and received her first Oscar nom for Winter’s Bone. But it was her role as Katniss Everdeen in the wildly popular movie The Hunger Games that brought the young actress international acclaim.
2 of 5
Nominated for: Best Actor, Silver Linings Playbook
Though he received a degree in English from Georgetown University, headed to New York City after graduation to study acting. He got lucky quickly with bit parts on TV’s Sex and the City and in movies like Wet Hot American Summer. He was a regular on Alias and had a memorable turn in Wedding Crashers, but it wasn’t until he had a Hangover that the Philadelphia native could drink in the success of movie stardom.
3 of 5
Nominated for: Best Actress, Zero Dark Thirty
Though the redhead from Sonoma, Calif., got her big break in The Help, she’d been working since age 13. After high school, she hightailed it to New York City to study at Juilliard before paying her dues on such TV mainstays as ER and Law and Order. That eventually led to movies like The Tree of Life and Texas Killing Fields. When she played a naive, kind-hearted wife in The Help, Chastain nabbed her first Oscar nomination, for Best Supporting Actress.
4 of 5
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actress, Les Misérables
Long before she became famous for her film work, was developing her acting skills on stage. While still in high school, she won a “rising star” award from a prestigious regional theater company in her hometown of Millburn, N.J. Just a few years later, she made the switch to movies, playing opposite Julie Andrews in The Princess Diaries. But it was films like Brokeback Mountain and The Devil Wears Prada that established the young actress’ movie career.
5 of 5
TOMMY LEE JONES
Nominated for: Best Supporting Actor, Lincoln
Who would’ve guessed that the tough-guy actor from San Saba, Texas, went to Harvard on a football scholarship and roomed with future Vice President Al Gore? When he wasn’t studying English lit or playing offensive guard, Lee was starring in school plays such as Shakespeare’s Coriolanus. After graduating, he did a soap opera (One Life to Live) and was Ryan O’Neal’s roommate in Love Story. His career took off with roles in The Executioner’s Song and Lonesome Dove, but Lee became A-list with powerhouse roles in films like JFK and The Fugitive.