They say it’s an honor to be nominated….not that anyone really believes that but yes, actors up for Academy Awards always do say that. Still, for each category, only one person can go home a winner. Lucky for everyone, losers and winners alike, they’ve got a body of work to prove their worth no matter what happens on Oscar Sunday. With that in mind, here are some past performances worth noting by some of this year’s nominees.
Cinema’s supreme tough guy is up for an Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year for his slightly less threatening role as an obsessive Philadelphia Eagles fan in “Silver Linings Playbook.” Still, if you’re looking to catch DeNiro at his most dangerous best, check out his work as a crazed San Francisco Giant fan in the 1996 thriller, “The Fan.”
Click the image below to watch “The Fan:”
At the rate he gets Academy Award nominations, they should give that little gold statue some glasses and a beard. And once again, Spielberg is in the running for Best Director, this time courtesy of “Lincoln.” Still, he hasn’t done too badly on the small screen either, and this episode of his “Twilight Zone”-ish anthology series. “Amazing Stories,” about a group of World War II pilots, demonstrates his immense story-telling skills.
Click the image below to watch “Amazing Stories:”
Nominated for Best Actor thanks to his performance as a soldier who gets involved with a religious cult in “The Master,” Phoenix really burst onto the scene in the Nicole Kidman comedy “To Die For” back in 1995. The film was anything but conventional, and Phoenix won raves for his portrayal of Kidman’s dim-witted yet murderous lover.
Click the image below to watch “To Die For:”
It’s a case of Been There, Won That for Hunt. She’s up for Best Supporting Actress this year thanks to her performance as a sex therapist in “The Sessions,” but she’s been on this big stage before, when she won a Best Actress Oscar as a single mom in 1997’s “As Good As It Gets.”
Click the image below to watch “As Good As It Gets:”
Tommy Lee Jones
This taciturn actor seems to show a smile about as often as he gets Oscar nominations – four at last count. He’s on the short list again this year, as Best Supporting Actor for portraying anti-slavery congressman Thaddeus Stevens in “Lincoln.” His only Oscar victory was for playing lawman Sam Gerard in the 1993 hit “The Fugitive,” a role he recreated in this sequel, 1998’s “U.S. Marshals.”
Click the image below to watch “U.S. Marshalls:”
Sure she can sing, as she did in her Oscar-nominated turn as Fantine in “Les Miserables.” As it turns out, though, Best Supporting Actress nominee Hathaway isn’t bad when it comes to comedy either. That’s why she’s been asked to host “Saturday Night Live” three times, including this standout episode where she tried out her dead-on Katie Holmes impersonation.
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She likes awards. She really likes awards. So much so, that she’s won two Oscars already and may take home a third this year for her supporting actress work in “Lincoln.” Meanwhile, Field also took home an Emmy for her role as matriarch Nora Walker on the primetime soap “Brothers & Sisters.” And no episode showcased her immense abilities more than this one, where she shared some particularly bad news with her TV brood.
Click the image below to watch “Brothers & Sisters:”
Long before she was playing games with hunger, Best Actress Oscar nominee Lawrence appeared as a high school sports mascot in this “Game” episode of the series “Monk.” She is a favorite to take home the trophy this year for her turn as a troubled young woman in “Silver Linings Playbook,” but she has already scored thanks to this episode, “Mr. Monk and the Big Game,” in which she plays a team mascot while Monk solves the murder of a high school basketball coach.
Click the image below to watch “Monk:”
Cooper has developed a reputation as a suave, sexy hunk but going against type to play a former mental patient who moves back in with his parents in “Silver Linings Playbook” earned him a Best Actor nomination. And in his early acting days, he went even further against type with a recurring role as a nerdy reporter turned CIA analyst in “Alias.” He appeared in several episodes, and none were bigger than “There’s Only One Sydney Bristow,” wherein his character was kidnapped and needed star Jennifer Garner to rescue him.
Click the image below to watch “Alias:”
Long before she became one of Hollywood’s most respected performers, Adams was busy just trying to work. She’s on top of the world now with her fourth Oscar nomination, this time as Best Supporting Actress for playing a cult leader’s wife in “The Master,” but she was best known early on for her guest appearances on “The Office” as one of Jim’s (John Krasinski) pre-Pam girlfriends. Her run ended with “The Booze Cruise” episode, one of the first times the series actually got the characters to leave their desks and get out into the real world.
Click the image below to watch “The Office:”
Philip Seymour Hoffman
This veteran actor has already snagged a Best Actor Oscar (for “Capote,” in 2005) and may bookend that this year with a Best Supporting Actor accolade for his work as Amy Adams’ cult honcho husband in “The Master.” Hoffman has become so accomplished, it’s hard to believe he began his acting career as a rape suspect in this first-season episode of “Law & Order,” entitled “The Violence Of Summer.”
Click the image below to watch “Law & Order:”