Monday, January 26, 2009

How Traditionally Trained Are This Years Oscar Nominees?

What do these Oscar nominated actors have in common?

When Laura Linney was talking about getting to see old classmates at the SAG Awards, I wondered to myself "ooh, who?!" as well as "I wonder where she went to school" as well as "I wonder where this year's Oscar nominees went to school." Hence, this post.

Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Richard Jenkins
Earned a degree in drama from Illinois Wesleyan University

Frank Langella
Graduated from Syracuse University in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in drama

Sean Penn
No college for Penn. Right out of Santa Monica High School, joined the Los Angeles Repertory Company. Got many roles through his parents, landed Taps on his own and the rest is history

Brad Pitt
Journalism major at the University of Missouri, acting in many of his fraternity's shows on the side. Left college two weeks before earning his degree to move to LA & take acting classes, studying with Roy London.

Mickey Rourke
Entered into professional boxing in his teenage years, never attending college. After getting cast in a friend's play and discovering his love for acting, moved to NY to study privately with a teacher from the Actor's Studio.

Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Josh Brolin
No college for Brolin. He trained with Stella Adler and Sandra Seacat and attended Film Industry Workshops. After making his feature acting debut, he went on to privately study with Pat George and Tony Miller.

Robert Downey Jr.
As a teen, attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in upstate New York. Dropped out of Santa Monica High School in 1982 to move back to New York and pursue acting. No formal lessons.

Philip Seymour Hoffman
He received a BFA in drama in 1989 from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. (Hey, that's what EruditeChick and I did! Except not in 1989...) Specifically at NYU, studied with the Circle in the Square Theater. Same NYU graduating class as Rainn Wilson and they wrestled during their first year. Whatever that means.

Heath Ledger
Acted in shows since age 10 and began pursuing a career in the field after dropping out of high school at age 16

Michael Shannon
Dropped out of high school at 16 and immediately performed in his first professional play. Has been acting ever since.

Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Anne Hathaway
Spent several semesters studying as an English major and Women's Studies minor at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York before transferring to New York University's Gallatin School of Individualized Study, but dropped out before graduating.

Angelina Jolie
Studied at the Lee Strasberg Institute in LA as a kid and appeared in many productions at Beverly Hills High. Started professionally acting & modeling during and right after high school, which she graduated early, at age 16. No college.

Melissa Leo
Studied Drama at Mount View Theatre School in London, England and later at the SUNY Purchase Acting Program, but did not graduate.

Meryl Streep
She received her B.A. in Drama at Vassar College in 1971 but also enrolled as a transfer student at Dartmouth College for a semester before that school had become coeducational. She subsequently earned an M.F.A. from Yale School of Drama.

Kate Winslet
Winslet began studying drama at the age of eleven at the Redroofs Theatre School. By 16, Winslet had dropped out of high school and landed her first film role: the lead in Heavenly Creatures.

Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Amy Adams
Made the decision not to go to college after high school. Performed in community & dinner theater and struggled as an actress until landing her breakthrough role in Junebug at age 30. Studied with the Actor's Workshop in LA in the early 2000s.

Penélope Cruz
Did not complete high school, but went on to receive four years of Theatre training from Cristina Rota's school in New York. In addition, studied classical ballet for nine years at Spain's National Conservatory and afterwards, continued training under a series of prominent dancers.

Viola Davis
Davis majored in theatre at Rhode Island College, graduating in 1988; in 2002 she received an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from the college. She also attended The Juilliard School for four years.

Taraji P. Henson
She first attended NC A&T where she started a major in Electrical Engineering. She later transferred to Howard University, where she graduated with a degree in Theater Arts.

Marisa Tomei
Attended Boston University for a year, transferring to NYU in 1983 after landing a role in the soap opera As The World Turns. Soon after, she dropped out of school altogether as her career began to take off.

Here's the tally!

Drama degrees: Richard Jenkins, Frank Langella, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Viola Davis, Taraji P. Henson - 6

College Drop Outs: Anne Hathaway, Melissa Leo, Marisa Tomei, Brad Pitt - 4

High School Drop Outs: Robert Downey Jr., Heath Ledger, Michael Shannon, Kate Winslet, Penelope Cruz - 5

Began careers straight of high school: Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke, Josh Brolin, Angelina Jolie, Amy Adams - 5

Huzzah, a degree in drama still wins! I feel better about myself now.

And in case you were wondering, Laura Linney went to Northwestern, Brown & Julliard and roomed with Jeanne Tripplehorn. All I could find. Darn!


@theorionwalker said...

I vaguely recall Rainn Wilson and Phil Hoffman breaking info a spontaneous wrestling match at the Spirit Awards or something a few years back. This explains a lot...