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Before They Were Famous: Check Out the Best Supporting Actor Nominees in Their Debut Film Roles

Before They Were Famous: Check Out the Best Supporting Actor Nominees in Their Debut Film Roles

From the first-time actor to the band leader coming off a hiatus, the nominees for Best Supporting Actor contain some exciting, quickly-rising stars. Here are the film roles that marked the beginning of these five actors’ careers. 

Jared Leto, Nominated for “Dallas Buyers Club” – “How to Make an American Quilt” (1995)


Even before his lead singer status in band 30 Seconds to Mars, Leto popped up in a handful of short-lived TV series, a 90’s sex-and-cars TV movie, and in “My So-Called Life.” But before “Fight Club” and “American Psycho,” he starred in a chain of small films, the first of which was “How to Make an American Quilt.” A bundle of stories are told to a young bride-to-be, (Winona Ryder), one of which is a forbidden romance in Colonial America. He’s got the sweet boyish thing down here, probably getting a lot of recognition at least in part for those popping blue eyes. 

Jonah Hill, Nominated for “The Wolf of Wall Street” – “The 40-Year Old Virgin” (2005)


If you’re reaching back, you probably first knew Jonah Hill from “Superbad” and “Knocked Up.” His acting career kicked off with a series of quirky and brief roles in films including “Click,” and after a bit part in “I Heart Huckabees,” he showed up as an ebay customer trying to purchase some kinky boots in “The 40-Year-Old Virgin.” The scene displays some of his best idiosyncrasies in less than a minute. 

Michael Fassbender, Nominated for “12 Years a Slave” – “300” (2006)


He hasn’t been a big name for long. You might think that his first film role was in an indie film, but it turns out that before early works “Shame” and “Inglourious Basterds,”  he “fought in the shade” alongside Gerard Butler in the bloody computerized gore flick “300” as Stelios. 

Barkhad Abdi, Nominated for “Captain Phillips” 


Okay, you probably know by now that Barkhad Abdi has been in exactly zero films prior to “Captain Phillips.” But that’s not to say he doesn’t come up in a ton of online videos after the film’s release. The 28-year-old Somali immigrant was a limo-driver and chauffeur when he was incorporated into the film, and has already received a slew of awards (Golden Globe, Critic’s Choice and more). He recently received the Best Supporting Actor award from BAFTA and made his acceptance speech as Tom Hanks applauded emphatically (and a little teary-eyed). 

Bradley Cooper, Nominated for “American Hustle” – Wet Hot American Summer” (2001)

There’s a lot of “American” themed stuff happening for Cooper. Nominated for “Hustle” and set to star in “American Blood,” his debut role was in a similarly nation-themed semi-raunchy sunny-fun flick. The biggest name in “Wet Hot American Summer” probably would have been Paul Rudd, if it weren’t for Cooper’s supporting role as Michael Ian Black’s lover. The comedy is about camp counselors who have more fun than the kids, and it was Coopers first film after showing up in an episode of “Sex and the City.”

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