With the Academy Awards just a few days away, ABC‘s 20/20 series brought back its annual Before They Were Famous 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 Hill 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. One of Brad’s early roles was on Growing Pains 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. Bérénice 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. Demián Bichir worked at Rosa Mexicano. This one will resonate more with New Yorkers: Before he got attention with roles on Weeds and a Best Actor nod for A Better Life, Demián 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 on Baywatch. Most of us first met the My Week with Marilyn nominee as bad girl Jen Lindley on Dawson’s Creek, but when Michelle was 13 she had a small spot on Baywatch. She played, of course, the popular girl that David Hasselhoff‘s son had a huge crush on.
5. Janet McTeer is nominated for the kind of performance she once lost to. Janet, who plays a woman disguised as a man in Albert Nobbs, received an Oscar nod in 1999 for mother/daughter drama Tumbleweeds. Not only was that film overshadowed in movie history by the more mainstream Anywhere But Here (starring Natalie Portman and Susan Sarandon), but Janet lost the Oscar to Hilary Swank… who played a transgender man.