15 Actors Who Got Oscar Love For Their First-Ever Roles

There are a lot of actors in Hollywood who work their entire careers for that sweet, sweet Oscar recognition. And a lot of the time, they won’t even get a nomination, let alone a win. Just ask Donald Sutherland. 

But not all actors are like that. Some actors simply decided that they have no intention of waiting 20+ years for the Academy to show them some love, and produced Oscar-worthy performances right out of the gate. Like these 15 actors:

15

EDWARD NORTON Norton's notoriously huge ego might be explained by the fact that the actor's first-ever role got him an Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe win. As Aaron Stampler in Primal Fear, Norton gave a chilling performance that is still being talked about 25 years later. CRACKED.COM

The Guardian & Looper

14

JULIE ANDREWS After starring in the Broadway version of My Fair Lady, Andrews got passed over for the same role in the movie adaptation because she didn't have any film experience. Disney, however, decided to take a chance and cast her as a lead in Mary Poppins. Their gamble paid

D23 & Oscars

13

JOHN MALKOVICH At the age of 31, the legendary actor made his film debut in 1984's Places in the Heart. And what a debut it was - Malkovich was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of a blind WWI veteran, and he's been a consistent acting powerhouse since then.

Oscars & IMDb

12

OPRAH WINFREY A year before starting The Oprah Winfrey Show, Winfrey made her acting debut in Steven Spielberg's The Color Purple-earning an Oscar nomination right out of the gate. She presumably realized acting was a bit too easy for her, so she moved on to slightly more challenging goals, like

Television Academy & The Guardian

11

LUPITA NYONG'O When I look down at this golden statue, may it remind me and every child, no matter where you're from, your dreams are valid, said Nyong'o after winning an Oscar for 12 Years a Slave- her first-ever movie role at the age of 31. CRACKED.COM

CBS & IMDb

10

JAMES DEAN Dean only had three credited movie roles before his untimely death at the age of 24. That was enough for the legendary actor to leave his mark on the industry forever. He was nominated for an Oscar for his 1955 debut in East of Eden, and for his

TODAY! & IMDb

9

HAILEE STEINFELD ICADE Steinfeld was only 14 when she received an Oscar nomination for her film debut as Mattie Ross in True Grit. Oscars are pretty cool, however, the actress says that at the time the most exciting part of the movie's success was getting to meet Justin Timberlake at

YouTube & THR

8

GLENN CLOSE It was my first movie, and I had no idea what I was doing, says Close about her Oscar-nominated debut in The World According to Garp. As if that wasn't impressive enough, she got nominated again the very next year for her second-ever role in The Big Chill.

Vanity Fair & IMDb

7

HAING S. NGOR In 1980, Ngor came to the U.S. with his 10-year-old orphaned niece after escaping Cambodia's Khmer Rouge. Four years later, he won an Oscar for his acting debut in The Killing Fields, a movie about the very regime he escaped. After winning, he gave the Oscar to

THR & Oscars

6

GABOUREY SIDIBE 2009's Precious might've been Sidie's first-ever acting gig but that didn't stop her from scoring an Oscar nomination alongside icons like Hellen Mirren and Meryl Streep. The actress says that she almost skipped going to her audition because she felt like she had no business auditioning with zero

Oscars & Post-Gazette

5

BARBRA STREISAND After her Broadway hit Funny Girl got a movie adaptation, Streisand was hired to reprise her starring role despite never appearing in a film before. She absolutely crushed her film debut and picked up the Best Actress Oscar for it. CRACKED.COM

Oscars & IMDb

4

BARKHAD ABDI In 2012, Abdi was selling phones in his brother's shop. Just a year later, he was outshining Tom Hanks in Captain Phillips. His acting debut as pirate leader Abduwali Muse even eamed him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. CRACKED.COM

The Guardian

3

JENNIFER HUDSON Nobody knew what to expect when the former American Idol contestant decided to dip her toes into the acting world with 2006's Dreamgirls. It turned out she could act just as well as she could sing- Hudson won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her debut performance.

Reuters & IMDb

2

ANNA PAQUIN In 1994, 11-year-old Paquin beat out screen legends like Holly Hunter, Rosie Perez, Winona Ryder, and Emma Thompson to win the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her breathtaking debut performance in The Piano.

Entertainment Weekly & IMDb

1

ORSON WELLES Citizen Kane was Welles's first time directing, writing, or acting in a feature film. Not only did he get an Oscar for writing and nominations for acting and directing, but he also managed to create one of the best films of all time, all on his first try.

IMDb & The New York Times