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Before They Were Oscar Nominees

Rooney Mara ('Law and Order: SVU'), George Clooney ('The Facts of Life'), Michelle Williams ('Dawson's Creek'), and Jonah Hill ('Accepted')

Even award-worthy actors and actresses have to get their start somewhere. This year's crop of Oscar nominees have played dweeby frat boys, ridiculously over-the-top villains, teenage bad girls turned good, and even Fantasia Barrino's Lifetime movie mom. Check out the videos below to see George Clooney, Michelle Williams, Rooney Mara, Brad Pitt, and more before they were Oscar nominees.

George Clooney
The Facts of Life

Way before he nabbed his nom for playing weary father Matt King in The Descendants, George Clooney got his start playing handyman George Burnett on The Facts of Life. He was definitely green in the role, but his trademark charm and boyish grin made his future stardom seem inevitable.

Michelle Williams
Dawson's Creek

Michelle Williams scored her third nomination this year for playing Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn. Her six season stint on Dawson's Creek never earned any awards, but the scene where a dying Jen Lindley tearfully made a goodbye video for her daughter showed that Williams had some major acting chops.

Rooney Mara
A Nightmare on Elm Street

She blew everyone away playing goth hacker Lisbeth Salander in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, but a mere two years ago Rooney Mara was just another horror movie girl. The future nominee screamed and sobbed her way through the 2010 remake of A Nightmare on Elm Street.

Brad Pitt

Including his most recent nod for Moneyball, Brad Pitt has four Oscar nominations under his belt. One of Pitt's first roles was on the nighttime soap opera Dallas, which helped the actor hone his particular brand of pouty hotness.

Octavia Spencer
Ugly Betty

Octavia Spencer is fantastic as Minny Jackson in The Help, and she looks like a sure bet to take home Oscar gold. Before the Academy came calling, Spencer played a sassy Bronx girl who just wanted to look like Mariah Carey on the ABC series Ugly Betty.

Jonah Hill

Jonah Hill, 28, slimmed down and scored himself an Oscar nomination for playing a nerdy number cruncher in Moneyball. Before he was palling around with Piit, Jonah played a nerdy kid who is picked on by his fraternity brothers in the 2006 comedy Accepted. Ask him about his weiner...

Melissa McCarthy
Gilmore Girls

Melissa McCarthy got a lot of attention for her fearlessly hilarious turn in Bridesmaids, but the veteran comedy actress has been turning out awesome performances for years. Her earliest major recurring role was on Gilmore Girls, where she played Lorelai's joyful BFF Sookie St. James.

Viola Davis
Life in Not a Fairy Tale: The Fantasia Barrino Story

Viola Davis has two Oscar noms under her belt (one for 2008's Doubt and one for this year's The Help). But back in the day she played Fantasia Barrino's mother in the Lifetime movie about the Idol winner's troubled life. Check out the pipes on this future nominee!

Kenneth Branagh
Wild Wild West

Kenneth Branagh has made many, many wonderful movies, including My Week with Marilyn, which scored him his fifth nod. But Wild Wild West is NOT one of those movies. Between the steam-powered wheelchair, the dubious Southern accent, and the insane facial hair, the Will Smith flick is not one of Branagh's finer moments.

Bonus Clip: The Law and Order: SVU episode that Rooney Mara wishes she could erase from her memory...

See more Michelle Williams photos:
  • Michelle Williams in Michelle Williams in a Pink Gown in Paris
  • Michelle Williams in Michelle Williams at the 'My Week With Marilyn' Paris Premiere
  • Michelle Williams in Michelle Williams at the Paris Premiere of 'My Week With Marilyn'
  • Michelle Williams in 'My Week with Marilyn' - Paris Premiere
  • Michelle Williams in Stars at the BAFTA After Party
  • Michelle Williams in Orange British Academy Film Awards 2012 - Outside Arrivals
  • Michelle Williams in Falguni & Shane Peacock - Front Row - Fall 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
  • Michelle Williams in Orange British Academy Film Awards 2012 - After Party - Arrivals

View Rooney Mara Pictures »
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