The Academy Awards are over for another year. In a few weeks, when we’ve seen (or reseen) all of the winners, and can’t get the infinitely talented people who won (or didn’t win) out of our minds, it will be time to visit their other work. Many of this year’s Oscar winners and nominees, both in front of and behind the camera, have done (or will soon be doing) great work on TV, too.
Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Best Director of Best Picture-winning Birdman, will produce and direct the first two episodes of a new series, The One Percent, for Starz. All we know so far is that it is set in the world of organic farming and stars Ed Helms, Ed Harris and Hillary Swank as members of a dysfunctional family trying to keep their farm afloat. Its 10-episode first season will premiere sometime in 2015.
The creative force behind Best Picture runner up Boyhood, Richard Linklater, produced and directed a short, six-episode docu-travel mini-series for Hulu Originals in 2012. The series, titled Up to Speed, follows quirky tour guide and voice actor Timothy “Speed” Levitch as he visits ignored monuments throughtout the United States.
This summer, Best Actor nominee Bradley Cooper (American Sniper) will star in the eight episode mini-series revival of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp on Netflix. The reboot will bring the whole 2001 cult movie gang back together, and is clearly the best thing to happen since Netflix revived Arrested Development. (Let’s hope this revival has better results.) Also, before Cooper was a neurotic-Elephant Man-sniper jerk, he played Will Tippin, Sydney’s undercover CIA agent friend with the lovely blonde locks on Alias, and appeared on the short-lived series Kitchen Confidential and Jack & Bobby.
The director of Best Picture nominee American Sniper Clint Eastwood made his TV debut in 1959 as Rowdy Yates on Rawhide. Set in the 1860s, Rawhide (CBS, 1959-1965) followed the adventures of a crew of cattle drovers in the old West.
In his spare time, Wes Anderson (Best Director and Best Original Screenplay nominee for The Grand Budapest Hotel) likes to direct television commercials. He has done spots for Japan’s SoftBank with Brad Pitt, for Stella Artois with Roman Coppola, and several others. His fellow producer Scott Rudin was an executive producer of 25 episodes of HBO’s The Newsroom and of Silicon Valley, and was a producer for the entire run of the 1990s gem, Clueless. As if!
Steve Carell entered many of our lives in 2005 as awkward paper boss Michael Scott on The Office. Before he was scoring Primetime Emmy and Oscar nods, he appeared in sketches on Saturday Night Live and The Dana Carvey Show, and in two short-lived ’90s sitcoms: Over the Top (about a fired soap opera star played by Tim Curry) and Watching Ellie (about a cabaret singer played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus).
Best known as the titular neurotic sleuth on the BBC’s Sherlock, Best Actor nominee Benedict Cumberbatch, like Carell, has impressively managed to hold down both a film and television career. But before he was making dragon noises or building supercomputers, he played Hugh Laurie’s son on the British dramedy Fortysomething. He also starred in Tom Stoppard’s Primetime Emmy Award-winning mini-series Parade’s End.
Cumberbatch’s fellow nominee Michael Keaton got his start on TV, playing an aide to the President in Norman Lear’s 1976 CBS political comedy All’s Fair. In 1979 (pre-Batman), he starred alongside John Belushi on Working Stiffs, and later made appearances on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and 30 Rock.
Best Actress winner Julianne Moore also did a stint on 30 Rock as Jack’s high school crush, Nancy Donovan. She started her career playing the Daytime Emmy Award-winning role of sisters Frannie and Sabrina Hughes on As The World Turns, appearing in numerous episodes over the course of 25 years (1985-2010).
Patricia Arquette, requisite Oscar Feminist and winner of Best Supporting Actress (Boyhood) is probably better known for her TV work than her film work. She starred for seven seasons as that person we all know who talks too much about her dreams on Medium. Next Wednesday, March 4, she will return to her recurring role as Special Agent Avery Ryan in the newest addition to CSI franchise, CSI: Cyber.
Best Supporting Actress runner up Laura Dern (Wild) starred in HBO’s critically acclaimed and cancelled-too-soon dramedy Enlightened (2011-2013), about a woman recovering from a mental breakdown, for which she won a 2012 Golden Globe. She also played the woman who dragged Ellen Degeneres out of the closet in the famous “Puppy Episode” of Ellen. Oprah Winfrey played Ellen’s therapist. We all know the Selma producer has a talk show and her OWN network (see what I did there?) and is heavily involved in many boob tube endeavors. But 25 years ago, before she was Oprah with a capital “O,” she was the star of the 1989 ABC mini-series The Women of Brewster Place, about a group of black women living in Chicago. It spawned an ABC drama, Brewster Place, which was cancelled after only a month. The full mini-series is available on Hulu. It is also rumored that Oprah will appear in a future episode of Lee Daniels’ Empire as Richard Pryor’s grandmother.
Finally, J.K. Simmons. In both film and TV, he is the ultimate “that guy.” He seems to be everywhere, but he’s rarely “THE guy.” Even last night, as he won his first Oscar, he won it for Best “Supporting” Actor, though his performance is one of the most talked about elements of the film, Whiplash. Simmons’ voice is all over the animated TV world, with credits that include The Legend of Korra, Marvel’s Avengers Assemble, Justice League, BoJack Horseman, Robot Chicken and American Dad. His real, physical self has appeared in — well, basically everything. He has played the leader of a white supremacist prison gang on Oz, a psychiatrist on Law & Order, a police chief on The Closer, and a magazine publisher on Men at Work.
BONUS: John Ridley, screenwriter and producer of the 2014 Oscar-winning Best Picture 12 Years A Slave will debut an intense, star-studded new series American Crime on ABC on Thursday, March 5. The drama follows the aftermath of the murder of a war veteran, and will explore issues of race, class and gender. “It’s not about the police. It’s not about the prosecutors. It’s really about the family, what they have to deal with,” Ridley told the Television Critics Association in January. If you’re worried about what you’ll do after this Thursday’s two hour How To Get Away With Murder finale, never fear — your weekly nail biting sessions can continue.
Sarah Hope is a graduate student at Syracuse University, where she focuses on television, entertainment history and classical music. Find her on Twitter @sarahmusing.
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