6 Surprising True-Life Inspirations Behind This Year’s Oscar-Nominated Performances

Amanda Bell
Contributor
Yahoo Movies

Chances are, everyone knows that behind "The Wolf of Wall Street" was a real-life scheming stockbroker, that the "American Hustle" team indeed pulled a fast punch on a bunch of crooked politicians, that "Dallas Buyers Club" was a look at what one man was actually able to do for Texan AIDS patients, and, of course, that "12 Years a Slave" was based on the haunting autobiography of Solomon Northup.

Beyond the obvious, though, there are a few surprising true-life inspirations that came into play for some of this year's Oscar-nominated performances. Click through and find out who influenced whom.

Lupita Nyong'o ("12 Years a Slave"): For her devastating performance as Patsey in the film, Nyong'o took notes from Michael Jackson, of all people. As she explained to Dazed Magazine, "There's something very Michael Jackson-like about Patsey--the childlike quality always had. She had her childhood stripped away from her suddenly as soon as she became of sexual age."

[Related: How Lupita Nyong'o Already Won Awards Season]

Jennifer Lawrence ("American Hustle"): Flashy, skin-tight mini-dresses, excessively hair-sprayed mane and over-the-top make-up? That could describe Lawrence's "Hustle" character Rosalyn or any of the "Real Housewives of New Jersey," from whom she may have drawn a little behavioral influence. "I've been watching a lot of reality TV shows," she admitted to MTV. "I can't say it's not from them. I wish I could."

Leonardo DiCaprio ("The Wolf of Wall Street"): Besides the actual guy he played in the film, Jordan Belfort, Leo drew cues from a very unique (and frankly hilarious) source: YouTube's "Drunkest Guy in the World." If you're not familiar, give it a whirl and perhaps you'll recognize a certain level of inebriation from the film. DiCaprio admitted watching the vid "on loop" and finding it to be "a huge inspiration."

[Related: 6 Other Bizarre Screen Inspirations]

Cate Blanchett ("Blue Jasmine"): Cate Blanchett's Jasmine was a royal pain in the you-know-what at certain points, so is it surprising that she took notes from someone who actually wore a crown? King Richard II, she revealed to the New York Times, was someone who informed her portrayal with his "sense of entitlement" and fall from power.

Sandra Bullock ("Gravity"): For her portrayal of new astronaut Ryan Stone in "Gravity," Sandra Bullock redefined what it means to make a long-distance phone call – by dialing up outer space and chatting with NASA's Dr. Cady Coleman while the astronaut was actually aboard the International Space Station. The resource would prove invaluable, of course, and help Bullock grapple with things like what it means to float around in zero Gs.

Jared Leto ("Dallas Buyers Club"): Of all the people who might have had an impact on Jared Leto's performance of Rayon, an AIDS-stricken transvestite who helps change the heart of a once-homophobic cowboy, it's his own grandmother who he said can be credited – particularly with his use of the word "darlin'." "She was from the south and there was certainly a bit of grandma in there," he told CTV News.

Tune in to Yahoo's live Oscars pre-show this Sunday at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT, and then watch the big show on ABC.