While the Oscars love honoring the biggest movie stars every year, occasionally a television performer breaks through with the film academy. Click through our photo gallery above of acclaimed Oscar winners who started out in TV, including such big names as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Hudson and Jennifer Lawrence. Might Laurie Metcalf (“Ladybird”) or Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”) be next to join this esteemed list?
The stars of “Roseanne” and “Mom” currently rank first and second in Best Supporting Actress Gold Derby’s exclusive Oscar odds. Should either Metcalf or Janney go on to win the Oscar they won’t be alone on the list of former (or current) television stars who have risen to the top of the film profession. Although for many years in the early days of television it was almost unheard of for a television performer to go on to a successful film career, it has been done before.
Television actors of the past have often described great prejudice against them when they tried to parlay their television success into film roles. That began to turn around in the 70s and 80s and has led to where we are nowadays with actors freely going back and forth between the two mediums. Women in particular have often complained about the lack of good film roles for them onscreen as they age. At this year’s Emmys, Oscar winners Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon spoke of how they produced their multi-Emmy winning mini-series “Big Little Lies” because they felt they weren’t getting enough good film roles being offered to them.
Film stars have often moved from film to television even in the early days of TV. Oscar nominees such as Peter Falk (“Columbo”), Telly Savales (“Kojack”) and Shirley Booth (“Hazel”) went to television after the initial film success had faded. There is also a very impressive list of people who have moved the other way. While once actors who aspired to film success wouldn’t even audition for television, Gold Derby has found a long list of acclaimed Oscar winners who had their first breakthrough in front of the national public on the small screen.
Be sure to make your Oscar nomination predictions so that Hollywood studio executives can see how their films are faring in our Academy Awards odds. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on January 23.