Oscar-winning actors almost always won the prestigious award for appearing in a heart-wrenching, gritty drama, and the nominees this year are no different. But the whole job of being n actor is to embody a bunch of different characters. Take a look at some of the more fun performances these possible Oscar winners gave that you may have forgotten about.
Dev Patel famously broke big after starring in Slumdog Millionaire, and now he's got his first Oscar nomination for his role in Lion, but to fans of the iconic British series Skins, he'll always be Anwar. Patel starred as the lovably goofy main character for the show's first two seasons.
Perhaps the greatest actress alive, Meryl Streep has proven time and again that she can perfectly channel any character. She's best known for her dramatic roles, but might take home the Oscar this year for playing the deluded opera singer in Florence Foster Jenkins. Her silliest role ever, though, was probably in the 1992 cult classic Death Becomes Her as a campy, age-obsessed, undead actress.
Casey is proving himself to be the Affleck to watch this year after getting an Oscar nod for his broody role in Manchester by the Sea. Though he and famous brother Ben Affleck tend to work on their own projects nowadays, one of their earliest roles was together, in Ben's movie Good Will Hunting. Casey played the smart aleck, comic relief friend Morgan.
The polar opposite of this year's harrowing, bleak Manchester by the Sea is the campy, irreverent American Pie series. Casey Affleck played the lead character Kevin's older brother Tom in the original film as well as its sequel.
It's certainly no secret that Emma Stone can land a joke. Though she's been proving her dramatic chops recently in her Oscar-nominated turns in Birdman and this year's La La Land, Stone got her start in comedies. One of her silliest performances was as the nerdy but enthusiastic sorority girl Natalie in The House Bunny.
He's one of the most well recognized actors now, and up for an Oscar for his performance in Hacksaw Ridge, but back in 2005 Andrew Garfield was best known in the U.K. as that kid from Sugar Rush. Garfield played the recurring character of Tom in the first season of the British series.
Michelle Williams proved how heart-wrenchingly vulnerable she could be in her Oscar-nominated performance in Manchester by the Sea, but she can deliver the laughs too, as she did in the 1999 presidential comedy Dick.
Ryan Gosling has certainly come a long way since his Disney days --- now he might sing and dance his way to an Oscar for his role in La La Land. His first acting credit aside from the Mickey Mouse Club was on an episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark back in 1995.
Another one of Ryan Gosling's earliest roles was a two-episode stint on the Disney Channel series Flash Forward back in 1996. That series also starred fellow future celebrity Ben Foster, and Firefly fans would recognize Jewel Staite as the show's female lead.
Denzel Washington is known for turning in some of the most stirring, powerful performances in film, as he did this year in Fences, but one of his earliest movies was actually a comedy. In 1981, Washington played a teenager who meets his wealthy white father in the race comedy Carbon Copy.
Natalie Portman is one of the most prolific and consistent working actors, and may earn her second Oscar this year for channeling Jackie Kennedy in Jackie. But Portman did step away from the dramatic leading roles that made her famous briefly at the start of her career --- she played the president's daughter in the super campy, but super star-studded 1996 comedy Mars Attacks!
In the mid-2000s, the teen comedy reigned supreme. Jeff Bridges may have already been an established actor, but even he wasn't safe from the teen comedy boom. Bridges starred as the playful but strict gymnastics coach in 2006's Stick it. Now ten years later, Bridges could be getting an Oscar for his part in Hell or High Water.
If there's one thing Michael Shannon is known for, it's his intensity. Although he tones it down a bit to secure his Oscar nom in this year's Loving, he brought every last bit of his famous intensity to the screen a couple years back for Amy Poehler and Paul Rudd's hysterical rom-com spoof They Came Together. Shannon plays Poehler's homicidal ex.
Long before becoming a household name and garnering Oscar attention for his role in this year's Captain Fantastic, one of Viggo Mortensen's very first roles was as a lazy stoner student in a 21 Jump Street-inspired ABC after-school special called "High School Narc."
For a young actor, Lucas Hedges has a really impressive resume. And now he might become an Oscar winner as well for his role in Manchester by the Sea. One of his first film roles was as an antagonistic boy scout in 2012's Moonrise Kingdom.
Ruth Negga is breaking big this year after her Oscar-nominated leading role in Loving, but British TV fans might best know her as Nikki on the sci-fi series Misfits.
Of every actor on this list, Octavia Spencer probably has the most experience in playing silly, off-the-walls characters. She was a prostitute in Bad Santa, an evil wizard in Wizards of Waverly Place, and even an insane version of herself on 30 Rock. Maybe her most wild character, though, is the delusional pet psychic in Dinner For Schmucks. Nowadays, she's up for an Oscar for her powerful performance in Hidden Figures.