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10 Embarrassing Early Roles Of Oscar Nominees

This year’s Oscar nominees have proven themselves as actors, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t made some less-than-great choices in the past.

1. Amy Adams in Cruel Intentions 2 (2000)

Nominated for: Actress in a Leading Role, American Hustle
Yes, there was a sequel to Cruel Intentions. A prequel, actually. And Amy Adams plays the Sarah Michelle Gellar character, because of course she does.

2. Christian Bale in Reign of Fire (2002)

Nominated for: Actor in a Leading Role, American Hustle
Christian Bale made his mark as a child actor in films like Newsies, and that’s precious. But Reign of Fire — featuring fellow nominee Matthew McConaughey! — is dreadful. DREADFUL.

3. Sandra Bullock in Love Potion No. 9 (1992)

Nominated for: Actress in a Leading Role, Gravity
Before she spun wildly in space, Sandra Bullock flailed as nerdy biologist Diane Farrow who finds love with the help of a secret formula and Tate Donovan’s charms.

4. Leonardo DiCaprio in Critters 3 (1991)

Nominated for: Actor in a Leading Role, The Wolf of Wall Street
Leonardo DiCaprio’s first film role was as Josh in Critters 3, which is almost as depraved as The Wolf of Wall Street. OK, not really. But it’s at least as much fun.

5. Jonah Hill in Grandma’s Boy (2006)

Nominated for: Actor in a Supporting Role, The Wolf of Wall Street
Jonah Hill is now a two-time Academy Award nominee who once appeared in Grandma’s Boy. Good for him! (He was also in Click, but alas, his iconic scenes have been scrubbed from YouTube.)

6. Jennifer Lawrence in The Bill Engvall Show (2007–2009)

Nominated for: Actress in a Supporting Role, American Hustle
Jennifer Lawrence hasn’t been a star for long, and she’s made pretty good choices since she broke through. The Bill Engvall Show is not her finest achievement (though it may be better than House at the End of the Street).

7. Jared Leto in Urban Legend (1998)

Nominated for: Actor in a Supporting Role, Dallas Buyers Club
Most everyone remembers Jared Leto as My So-Called Life’s dreamy Jordan Catalano. Since then he’s had a fascinating and eclectic career, but Urban Legend is not one of his standout roles.

8. Matthew McConaughey in Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation (1994)

Nominated for: Actor in a Leading Role, Dallas Buyers Club
It’s not as though Matthew McConaughey hasn’t had several ridiculous roles, but there’s something truly demented about his turn as Vilmer Slaughter in this forgotten installment of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre franchise.

9. Julia Roberts in Dying Young (1991)

Nominated for: Actress in a Supporting Role, August: Osage County
Look, if you’re going to watch one movie with Julia Roberts about dying young, it’s gotta be Steel Magnolias. This cancer film is a cloying melodrama, and she isn’t even the one dying.

10. Meryl Streep in She-Devil (1989)

Nominated for: Actress in a Leading Role, August: Osage County
Meryl Streep and Roseanne — together at last. Meryl was already a star at this point, so she was allowed to make some unconventional choices, but this movie is actually insane.

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