With the Academy Awards just a few days away, ABC‘s 20/20Â series brought back its annual Before They Were FamousÂ special, in which they delve into the personal and professional pasts of Oscar-nominated actors, and even interview some of their famous buddies, to remind you that these stars were all normal folks once.
They also uncover amusing bits of Oscar trivia from the actors’ adolescence or early roles, which is what we’ve got for you here. If you missed the show, no need to hunt it down online; we’ve compiled the best “did you know?” facts. And since your friends were probably catching up on One Tree HillÂ instead of watching 20/20, you’ll be able to wow them at your Oscars party.
1. Brad Pitt was intimidated by Tracey Gold’s mom.Â One of Brad’s early roles was onÂ Growing PainsÂ as Carol’s (Tracey Gold) boyfriend. As Tracey tells it, they were rehearsing a big kissing scene when Brad asked that Tracey’s mom not be on-set during shooting. Apparently her mom was used to watching all of the scenes!
2. BĂ©rĂ©nice Bejo was the handmaid in A Knight’s Tale! Ever time I watched Heath Ledger‘s classic tale of a knight changing his class, I always wondered who was the pretty girl who hovered by Shannyn Sossamon‘s side. But even when I looked up her name on IMDb, she was a nobody by Hollywood standards. Then, during all the commercials for The Artist, I kept thinking that I knew her but couldn’t put my finger on it; I bet you were, too. Now, go astound your friends!
3. DemiĂˇn Bichir worked at Rosa Mexicano.Â This one will resonate more with New Yorkers: Before he got attention with roles on WeedsÂ and a Best Actor nod for A Better Life,Â DemiĂˇn toiled away at the highscale Mexican restaurant, churning out its delicious guacamole. In fact, he set a record, for 39 guacs in one shift.
4. One of Michelle Williams’ first roles was onÂ Baywatch.Â Most of us first met theÂ My Week with MarilynÂ nominee as bad girl Jen Lindley onÂ Dawson’s Creek, but when Michelle was 13 she had a small spot onÂ Baywatch. She played, of course, the popular girl thatÂ David Hasselhoff‘s son had a huge crush on.
5. Janet McTeer is nominated for the kind of performance she once lost to.Â Janet, who plays a woman disguised as a man in Albert Nobbs, received an Oscar nod in 1999 for mother/daughter dramaÂ Tumbleweeds. Not only was that film overshadowed in movie history by the more mainstream Anywhere But HereÂ (starring Natalie PortmanÂ and Susan Sarandon), but Janet lost the Oscar to Hilary Swank… who played a transgender man.