How This Year's Golden Globe Winners Got Their Start

From humble beginnings to silver spoons, check out where this year's Golden Globe winners went to school and how they got their start in Hollywood.

If you’re anything like me, you don’t get the post-holiday blues because you know that the most wonderful time of year is actually awards season, these few precious months when celebrities get all decked out in their finest duds and we wait with bated breath to see if our favorite TV shows and movies will get the recognition they deserve.

In honor of the 71st Golden Globe Awards, which were presented this past Sunday, I thought it would fun to take a look at where this year’s winners went to school (if they went at all—remember, success without a degree is the exception, not the rule!) and how they got their start. So grab some popcorn, dim the lights, and read on. . .

  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Jennifer Lawrence, American Hustle
    Best known for her roles in The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbook, Jennifer Lawrence reportedly graduated from high school two years early with a near-perfect GPA so she could pursue her dream of acting. Her career took off with her performance in the 2010 film Winter’s Bone, and she’s been taking on increasingly complex characters—and earning much-deserved accolades—ever since.
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television: Jacqueline Bisset, Dancing on the Edge
    English actress Jacqueline Bisset attended London’s Lycée Français Charles de Gaulle. She also took ballet and acting lessons and worked as a model before launching her film career in the 1960s.
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Elisabeth Moss, Top of the Lake
    Best known for her portrayal of Peggy Olson in Mad Men, Elisabeth Moss graduated from high school early and initially studied ballet, not acting, at the School of American Ballet and the Kennedy Center. Her first major acting gig was playing a burn victim in Girl, Interrupted.
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series—Drama: Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
    Bryan Cranston was born in Los Angeles, where he attended Canoga Park High School. Ironically, in light of his role as the law-breaking Walter White in Breaking Bad, Cranston once hoped to become a cop and earned an associate degree in police science from Los Angeles Valley College before launching his acting career in the 1980s.
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television: Jon Voight, Ray Donovan
    Jon Voight grew up in a Catholic household and attended Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, New York. Before moving to New York City to pursue a career in acting, he graduated from The Catholic University of America with a B.A. in art. Fun fact: Voight’s daughter is actress Angelina Jolie.
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion PictureComedy or Musical: Amy Adams, American Hustle
    From Talladega Nights to The Muppets to her most recent role in American Hustle, Amy Adams can play a wide array of characters with equal aplomb. Adams graduated from Douglas County High School in Castle Rock, Colorado, and held a string of retail and food service jobs before getting her acting career underway. “I just waited to get out of school,” said Adams in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I wasn’t one of those people who enjoyed being in school. I regret not getting an education, though.”
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Television SeriesDrama: Robin Wright, House of Cards
    Robin Wright grew up in California and attended La Jolla High School and Taft High School while developing a successful career as a model. After graduating, she transitioned into acting and landed the role of Princess Butercup in The Princess Bride when she was just 21 years old.
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club
    Multitalented actor and musician Jared Leto (he’s the lead vocalist for Thirty Seconds to Mars) studied at The University of the Arts and the School of Visual Arts before moving to Los Angeles to pursue acting. His breakthrough role came when he joined the cast of the angsty teen drama My So-Called Life in 1994.
  • Best ScreenplayMotion Picture: Spike Jonze, Her
    Known for his cerebral and thought-provoking work, Spike Jonze attended the San Francisco Art Institute. He got his start directing music videos for artists such as the Beastie Boys, R.E.M., and the Chemical Brothers and hit the big time after directing the mind-bending films Being John Malkovich and Adaptation.
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Television SeriesComedy or Musical: Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    Funnyman Andy Samberg was born in Berkeley, California, and attended Berkeley High School. He began studying at the University of California, Santa Cruz and transferred to New York University, where he graduated in 2000. He joined the cast of Saturday Night Life just five years later, and the rest is history.
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Series, Mini-Series, or Motion Picture Made for Television: Michael Douglas, Behind the Candelabra
    Oscar winner Michael Douglas, son of veteran actor Kirk Douglas, graduated from prestigious Choate Rosemary Hall in 1963 and earned a B.A. in drama at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1968. He further honed his craft at The American Place Theatre in New York City before launching his career with several notable television roles. He first segued into film when he produced One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest in 1975.
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Television SeriesComedy or Musical: Amy Poehler, Parks and Recreation
    Massachusetts native Amy Poehler attended Burlington High School and studied media and communications at Boston College, where she graduated in 1993. She then went on to study improvisational theatre at Second City in Chicago, where she was joined by her future Golden Globes co-host Tina Fey.
  • Best DirectorMotion Picture: Alfonso Cuarón, Gravity
    Born in Mexico City, Alfonso Cuarón studied philosophy and filmmaking at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. Some of his notable film credits include Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban and Paris, je t’aime.
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion PictureComedy or Musical: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street
    Hollywood heartbreaker Leonardo DiCaprio has been acting for most of his life. At five years old, he was reportedly booted off the set of Romper Room for being disruptive. But his boy-next-door looks and talent as an actor eventually won him appearances on sitcoms such as Roseanne and Growing Pains, and leading roles in ‘90s films like Romeo + Juliet and Titanic soon followed.
  • Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion PictureDrama: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine
    Born in Australia, Cate Blanchett attended Ivanoe Girls’ Grammar School and Methodist Ladies’ School (where she was the school’s drama captain), both in Melbourne. She went on to study fine arts and economics at the University of Melbourne and graduated from Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art in 1992. She first made a name for herself on the silver screen in the 1998 film Elizabeth, in which she played Elizabeth I of England.
  • Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion PictureDrama: Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club
    Texas-born Matthew McConaughey attended Longview High School and earned a B.S. in radio-television-film from The University of Texas at Austin (the actor is an avid UT football fan). Thanks to his unmistakable drawl, McConaughey is often typecast as a Texan and is known for his iconic roles as David Wooderson in Dazed and Confused (“Alright, alright, alright”) and, most recently, rodeo cowboy Ron Woodroof in Dallas Buyers Club.

Did you watch this year’s Golden Globes? What were your most and least favorite moments? Who’s on your best- and worst-dressed lists?

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About Stephanie Farah

Stephanie Farah

Stephanie is a former writer and senior editor for Carnegie Darlet and CollegeXpress. Stephanie holds a BA in English from the University of Texas at Austin and a master's in Journalism from the University of North Texas. At various times she has been: an uncertain undergrad, a financial aid recipient, a transfer applicant, and a grad student with an assistantship and a full ride. Stephanie is an avid writer, traveler, cook, and dog owner. 


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