Even Hollywood’s finest have to start somewhere. For all the critical praise heaped onto an actor, there’s always at least one role buried in their filmography that the stars would rather forget. This year’s batch of Oscar nominees are no exception.
From Dev Patel and Nicole Kidman, to Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams, here are the roles we’re betting these actors would be embarrassed by today.
Dev Patel In “Skins”
Before “Slumdog Millionaire”, Patel got his start on the sexy British series “Skins” as a sex-crazed party-loving teen, Anwar, who never met a drug or drink he didn’t like. After losing his virginity to a gorgeous Russian, Patel had to act out some pretty embarrassing sex scenes, including one where his character rattled off a list of Hugh Grant movies to stop himself from climaxing. “I never get as far as ‘About A Boy’,” Anwar quipped on the show.
Patel has come a long way from his TV days, telling Hey U Guys he had “no idea what he was doing” when he was cast in the series.
Nicole Kidman Big Screen Debut
Patel’s “Lion” co-star Nicole Kidman may already have one Oscar under her belt, but it’s definitely not for her embarrassing turn in the 1983 Aussie flick “BMX Bandits”, her feature film debut.
A fresh-faced and super frizzy-haired 16-year-old Kidman gets caught up with a gang of bank robbers after discovering – wait for it – a carton of walkie-talkies. Throw in some fluorescent early-1980s fashion and a pair of elbow guards and you’ve got Kidman’s most embarrassing on-screen role, then certainly one of her most regrettable on-screen looks, though it’s nothing compared to her embarrassment over an early 1980s photo shoot for Dolly magazine.
Ryan Gosling’s Canadian TV Roots
Ryan Gosling isn’t immune to embarrassing roles.
With a slew of bit parts on Canadian series like “Ready Or Not”, “Are You Afraid Of The Dark?” and “Road To Avonlea”, it’s Gosling’s role in a “Goosebumps” episode that’s one of the more embarrassing spots on his resume.
In the 1996 episode “Say Cheese And Die”, a 15-year-old Gosling is a terrified kid named Greg who finds a haunted Polaroid camera in a creepy photog’s storage space. When he snaps pics of his pals, the photo reveals what terrible events are in their near-future. Eventually, Greg and his pals beat the creepy photographer at his own game by capturing his soul in the haunted camera. Scary stuff, indeed.
Michelle Williams Hit The Beach
A few years before her breakout role on “Dawson’s Creek”, 13-year-old Michelle Williams jogged on the beach in a bikini in her first on-screen role in an episode of “Baywatch”. She later returned for a second time in an uncredited role as a lifeguard groupie. The four-time Oscar nominee likely leaves her “Baywatch” appearances off her resume these days.
Michael Shannon Tries Comedy
Michael Shannon isn’t a name you’d normally associate with a comedy, but back in 2006, he joined Will Arnett in “Let’s Go To Prison”. As a leader of the prison’s white supremacist group with some major daddy issues, Shannon’s tattooed inmate definitely isn’t laughing as he threatens Arnett’s character. Shannon definitely went method for the awkwardly dark role, channeling a character that would seem more at home in the graphic prison drama “Oz”.
“I don’t say ‘no’ very often,” he told Total Film in 2013. “It’s more or less what people want me to do. Acting is a serving industry.”
Viggo Mortensen Played A Cannibal
Very few actors get by without at least one role in the horror genre. For “Captain Fantastic” nominee Viggo Mortensen, that was in the embarrassing “Leatherface: Texas Chainsaw Massacre III” in 1990. And no, he’s not one of the good guys. Mortensen is Tex Sawyer, a member of Leatherface’s family who has a taste for human flesh in a villainous role that rivals Leatherface himself. The two-time Oscar nominee would likely rather forget this early role.
Jeff Bridges’ Box Office Bomb
Sometimes mistakes come later in an actor’s career. For Jeff Bridges, his most-embarrassing role is in 2013’s “R.I.P.D.”.
Three years after he won an Oscar for “Crazy Heart”, Bridges teamed-up with Ryan Reynolds in the action-comedy about a team of undead police officers working for the Rest In Peace Department fighting evil spirits. With a budget of $130 million, the movie was a critical and box office bomb, earning only a quarter of its budget back. Bridges later told GQ he was “underwhelmed” with the movie.
But it did give Bridges a chance to flex his gruff cowboy voice muscles, a voice he uses in both “Crazy Heart” and in his 2017 nominated role in “Hell Or High Water”.
Octavia Spencer’s Questionable Role
As for “Hidden Figures” nominee Octavia Spencer, we don’t even want to know what her 2009 movie “Herpes Boy” is about.