It's Academy Awards season! With so many beautiful and powerful performances, I thought it would be fun to learn a little bit more about the nominees in each category and their journey leading up to the big night on February 26th.
1st up: Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Meet Viola Davis
Hometown: Central Falls, Rhode Island
Training: Rhode Island College, The Juilliard School
Big Break: A stage and film actress, Viola started her career on stage winning an Obie Award for her performance in “Everybody’s Ruby” (1999) and winning the Tony Award for her work in “King Hedley II” (2001). Her breakthrough film role though came in 2008 with her Oscar-winning work in “Doubt.”
Fun Fact: Viola grew up in poverty and her father was a horse groomer and her mother worked at factory and as a maid.
Meet Naomie Harris
Hometown: London, England
Training: Cambridge (Social and Political Sciences), Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
Big Break: Although she began her career as a child actress on the London children's series "Simon and the Witch" (1987), a series of big breaks came with popular films like "28 Days Later" (2002), "Pirates of the Caribbean" (2006, 2007), "Skyfall" (2012), and "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom" (2013).
Fun Fact: Naomie cries at the most random things. Like seeing a flower or getting a hug from her sister.
Meet Nicole Kidman
Hometown: Sydney, Australia
Training: Philip Street Theatre, Australian Theatre for Young People
Big Break: An Oscar-winning Best Actress for "The Hours" (2002), her first film was released at the age of 16 ("Bush Christmas," 1983). It wasn't until a string of films in the early '90s though ("Days of Thunder," "Far and Away," "Batman Forever") that she became a household name in the US.
Fun Fact: Nicole was actually born in Honolulu, Hawaii and didn't move to Australia until she was 3. She was given the Hawaiian name Hōkūlani, meaning 'Heavenly Star'. She also is scared of butterflies.
Meet Octavia Spencer
Hometown: Montgomery, Alabama
Training: Auburn University (BS in English, Double Minor: Theatre & Journalism)
Big Break: Although her first mainstream role came in 1996 ("A Time to Kill"), her Oscar-winning, breakthrough role in "The Help" didn't come until 2011. She actually became friends with "The Help" director, Tate Taylor, on the set of "A Time to Kill." When they moved to LA, they even were roommates for a few years and Taylor made sure to cast his friend in "The Help." Note to self: always be nice to everyone on set!
Fun Fact: She is the author of the book for middle schoolers called "Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective: The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit."
Meet Michelle Williams
Manchester by the Sea
Hometown: Kalispell, Montana; moved to San Diego, California at the age of 9
Big Break: As a child, she made guest appearances on "Step by Step" and "Full House" and her film debut in "Lassie" in 1994. Her starring role of Jen Lindley in "Dawson's Creek" (1998-2003) made her a household name. After "Dawson's Creek," her career transitioned into mostly the film world, gaining international acclaim for her Academy Award-nominated work in "Brokeback Mountain" (2005), "Blue Valentine" (2010), and "My Week with Marilyn" (2011).
Fun Fact: Michelle fell in love with acting after seeing a production of "Tom Sawyer" in a basement.
What an incredible group of ladies! Who is your favorite?
Let me know in the comments below!
Check back on Saturday to
Meet the 2017 Academy Award Nominees:
Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Tom Morin is a NYC-based acting coach, co-founder of Polish Your Passion, and a professional actor/singer. He holds a B.A. in Theatre & Political Science from the College of the Holy Cross and an M.F.A. in Acting from Ohio University and has been teaching for the past 9 years, advising and coaching students through the college audition process and beyond. He loves coffee, Shakespeare, and YouTube.