2015 Oscar Nominees' First Roles: Who Went From Superbad to Best Supporting Actress?

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Last week, the 2015 Oscar nominees were revealed, and the list was not without some surprises.

Granted, the biggest news is that the pack of contenders is whiter than Romney family reunion in a blizzard, but even once that shock subsides (It probably never will.) you may find yourself doing a double take at some of this year's nominees.

Isn't Steve Carell a sitcom star? When did the eternally-stodgy Academy start taking Emma Stone seriously? And most importantly, why was Meryl Streep only nominated once?!

The answers to those questions are: yes, halfway through Birdman, and because the Academy has a lot of different asses to kiss. 

A big part of Oscar voting is avoiding future regret, so these days, voters are less likely to dismiss TV actors and comedians for fear they'll one day end up having to sheepishly hand them an apologetic lifetime achievement award.

It's a foolish motivation, but it's led to the selection of a diverse group of white actors with widely varied backgrounds:

Yes, this memory of this year's ceremony will forever be marred by some of the most baffling snubs in recent memory, but the fact that Sherlock and Michael Scott up for the same award must mean Hollywood's elder statesmen aren't too stuck in their ways, right?

Check out the gallery above to see where this where nominees got their start. You may find yourself feeling inspired. Hey, if Julianne Moore can go from battling mummies on screen to contending for Oscar gold, then anything must be possible, right?

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