The nominees for the 2012 Academy Awards were announced yesterday and a number of television actors are up for the coveted Oscar statuette. One surprising nomination was comedian Melissa McCarthy of Mike and Molly and Gilmore Girls fame. McCarthy is up for Best Supporting Actress for her scene-stealing role in the comedy Bridesmaids.
Other former television actors include Michelle Williams, who got her start onDawson’s Creek, as a serious Best Actress contender for her performance as Marilyn Monroe in My Week with Marilyn. George Clooney, who got his big break as a hunky doctor on the medical drama ER, is up for a Best Actor for his role in The Descendents.
If any of these actors take home the Oscar on February 26, it wouldn’t be the first time that a television actor rose up through the Hollywood ranks to win acting’s most prestigious award. The following actors all belong to an elite group of thespians who got their big break in television.
Tom Hanks – Best Actor, Philadelphia, Forrest Gump
Although Hanks has won a number of accolades for his work as a dramatic actor, he started out as a comedian working in television. Hanks performed in drag for two seasons of the ABC sitcom Bosom Buddies when he was first starting out.
Jamie Foxx – Best Actor, Ray
Before his award-winning performance of Ray Charles, Jamie Foxx was a performer on the sketch comedy show In Living Color. Foxx went on to star in his own sitcom, The Jamie Foxx Show before becoming a serious dramatic actor.
Robin Williams – Best Actor, Good Will Hunting
Robin William’s best skill is the ability to make audiences laugh and cry all at the same time. However, there wasn’t an ounce of drama in him when he played Mork, the eponymous alien from Mork & Mindy.
Sally Field – Best Actress, Norma Rae, Places in the Heart
Sally Field’s first Oscar acceptance speech is the stuff of legends. Although, audiences “liked her, really liked her” as Gidget and The Flying Nun before she was an Oscar winning actress and continue to like her on the drama Brothers and Sisters.
Cher – Best Actress, Moonstruck
Cher has always been known as a musician, but this pop diva has also had a successful acting career. Before she won her Oscar she was performing sketch comedy with her ex-husband on The Sonny and Cher Show.
Helen Hunt – Best Actress, As Good as It Gets
Helen Hunt was already a household name for her role in the sitcom Mad About You when she took home the Oscar. In fact, Hunt is the first actor to win an Oscar while simultaneously starring in a television show.
Jennifer Hudson – Best Supporting Actress, Dreamgirls
It’s pretty impressive that Jennifer Hudson won an Academy Award for her acting debut in Dreamgirls. Even more impressive is the fact that this former American Idol contestant is the first reality show star to win an Oscar.
Mo’Nique – Best Supporting Actress, Precious
Melissa Leo – Best Supporting Actress, The Fighter