Long before they were toting Oscars, A-listers were making a name for themselves in everything from soap operas to romantic comedies and everything in between.
Leonardo DiCaprio was nominated four times before he finally won an Oscar for his fifth nod, for his part in The Revenant, at the 2016 ceremony. However, even before his first nod in 1993 for the heartbreaking part he played in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, the actor had already made a name for himself.
He started acting in 1979, guest-starring on multiple TV shows before landing a supporting role on Parenthood in 1990. In 1991, he landed a leading role in Growing Pains, launching his massive career.
Meryl Streep, the actor with the most Oscar nominations of all time, also had quite the career before earning her first nod in 1978. She made her stage debut in Trelawny of the Wells in 1975 and the following year, earned a Tony Award nomination for her role in 27 Wagons Full of Cotton and A Memory of Two Mondays. She first appeared on screen in 1977.
Tom Hanks, one of the most famous actors in Hollywood history, has also had quite the journey to the Oscar. He made his acting debut on film in 1979; the following year, he landed the starring role in the TV series Bosom Buddies and later appeared on an episode of Happy Days. In 1984, he was in the box-office hit Splash. In 1989, Hanks earned his first Oscar nomination for Big. While he lost, he went on to win consecutive Oscars for Philadelphia and Forrest Gump. He was nominated again in 1999, 2001 and 2020.