As diehard TV fans, we can’t remember the last time we were this excited for an Oscars telecast.
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Nominations for the 96th Academy Awards were announced Tuesday, and while there are plenty of feelings to go around, we want to take a moment to celebrate the seven incredible performers who officially made the leap from longtime TV stars to first-time Oscar nominees.
From America Ferrera (Ugly Betty, Superstore), whose passionate speech about the challenges of womanhood in Barbie practically made her a feminist icon overnight, to Danielle Brooks (Orange Is the New Black), who blew the roof off of theaters nationwide in The Color Purple, it’s impossible not to get excited about these small-screen stars finally being recognized for their big-screen talents.
“For somebody who’s been watching the Oscars my whole life, I’ve never been,” Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) said in an Instagram live on Tuesday morning. “I’ve been a fan before I was anything else. You sit and watch these things and think, ‘It must be cool to be in that room. It must be cool to be nominated.’”
Well, Brown doesn’t have to think about how cool it is anymore: His work in American Fiction earned him a spot among the deserving names we’re celebrating today.
(Disclaimer: For the purposes of this list, a TV star is considered anyone known for a series-regular role on television.)
Read on for a breakdown of the seven TV stars who graduated to full-blown Oscar contenders this year, then drop a comment with your personal favorites. Who will you be rooting for when the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted Oscars air on March 10 (ABC, 8/7c)?
NOMINATED FOR: Supporting Actress for her turn as Sofia in The Color Purple
PAST TV ROLES: Leota Adebayo, Peacemaker; Tasha “Taystee” Jefferson, Orange Is the New Black
STERLING K. BROWN
NOMINATED FOR: Supporting Actor for his turn as Clifford Ellison in American Fiction
PAST TV ROLES: Randall Pearson, This Is Us; Christopher Darden, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story; Roland Burton, Army Wives
NOMINATED FOR: Lead Actor for his turn as Bayard Rustin in Rustin
PAST TV ROLES: Victor Strand, Fear the Walking Dead; Ali, Euphoria
NOMINATED FOR: Supporting Actress for her turn as Gloria in Barbie
PAST TV ROLES: Amy Sosa, Superstore; Betty Suarez, Ugly Betty
NOMINATED FOR: Lead Actor for his turn as J. Robert Oppenheimer in Oppenheimer
PAST TV ROLES: Thomas Shelby, Peaky Blinders
DA’VINE JOY RANDOLPH
NOMINATED FOR: Supporting Actress for her turn as Mary Lamb in The Holdovers
PAST TV ROLES: Detective Donna Williams, Only Murders in the Building; Destiny, The Idol; Shaveese “Veesy” Diggs, The Last O.G.; Cherise, High Fidelity; Yvonne Watson, People of Earth
NOMINATED FOR: Lead Actor for his turn as Thelonious “Monk” Ellison in American Fiction
PAST TV ROLES: Bernard Lowe, Westworld; Valentin Narcisse, Boardwalk Empire; Belize, Angels in America
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