Before They Were Oscar Nominees…
Before They Were Oscar Nominees…
Leonardo DiCaprio, Don’s Plum (2001) Oscar Nominee: The Wolf of Wall Street
This low budget black-and-white film starred real-life pals Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, and Kevin Connolly as a group of douchebag Angeleno lotharios who discuss their womanizing ways at an L.A. diner. DiCaprio’s Derek is the worst of the bunch, making a bevy of racist and sexist remarks, and even pushing a girl in one upsetting sequence. Don’s Plum was filmed from 1995-1996, when DiCaprio and Maguire weren’t megastars yet, and the actors were only reportedly paid $575 a day for their work. It premiered at the 2001 Berlin Film Festival, but was never released in the U.S. because DiCaprio and Maguire were allegedly so embarrassed by the film—and felt it could harm their burgeoning careers—that they attempted to block its release. Producer David Stutman sued DiCaprio and Maguire, but the group eventually all agreed to release the film outside the U.S. and Canada only.
Jennifer Lawrence, Monk (2006) Oscar Nominee: American Hustle
Before she was America’s Sweetheart, winning an Oscar at the young age of 22 for her stunning performance as a Goth-y widow in Silver Linings Playbook, and becoming a global star with The Hunger Games films, Jennifer Lawrence made her TV debut as a rowdy mascot on the USA series Monk. In the episode “Mr. Monk and the Big Game,” Lawrence is seen sporting a cougar costume and jumping on Monk (Tony Shalhoub) as he coaches a high school basketball game. Later, she takes off her mascot head to reveal herself. Coincidentally (or not), one of Shia LaBeouf’s earliest TV roles was also as a high school mascot who gets sidelined with an injury on the cult show Freaks and Geeks.
Jonah Hill, Accepted (2006) Oscar Nominee: The Wolf of Wall Street
Prior to becoming a two-time Oscar nominee for his excellent turns in Moneyball and The Wolf of Wall Street, Jonah Hill was an up-and-coming comedic actor who starred as Sherman Schrader III, an awkward college freshman who tries to blend in at upper-crusty Harmon College by pledging a fraternity. Sherman screams like a girl, and is so desperate to become one of the cool kids on campus (he yells, “Yes! Yes! I want it! I want everything you guys have! I want Lilac shirts! I want visors kinda tilted to the side with hair gel coming out of them!”) that he endures a number of indignities by his fraternity’s douche-y president, Hoyt, including wearing a hot dog suit in the quad and propositioning random classmates to, “Ask me about my wiener!”
Amy Adams, Cruel Intentions 2 (2000) Oscar Nominee: American Hustle
Today, Amy Adams has become one of the finest—and most consistently reliable—actresses in showbiz, racking up an otherworldly five Oscar nominations in just eight years. In her early years as a struggling actress, she was set to star in a TV spin-off of the movie Cruel Intentions called Manchester Prep, which was set to air on Fox. Adams played femme fatale Kathryn Merteuil, a rich-bitch teen who gleefully manipulates her stepbrother, Sebastian Valmont, played by direct-to-video sequel star Robin Dunne (see: The Skulls II, Species III, American Psycho II: All American Girl). Sadly, the series wasn’t picked up by Fox, and was released as a direct-to-video film in 2000. But, with lines like “two’s company, three’s a fuckload of fun,” it’s worth the price of a rental for Adams’s entertainingly over-the-top turn.