TV actors aren’t just recognized for their talents on the small screen. Just because they act on TV shows doesn’t mean they can’t pursue a career on the big screen. Here are just a few TV stars that have really let their talents shine in movies - and have even been nominated and/or won an Academy Award.
1. Will Smith
Known For: “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
Oscar Nomination: “Ali” and “The Pursuit of Happyness”
Who would have thought the boy who went to sit on his throne in Bel-Air would be an Oscar nom? I guess his life really did get “flipped, turned upside down.”
2. Helen Hunt
Known For: “Mad About You”
Oscar Nomination: “The Sessions”
Oscar Win: “As Good As It Gets”
Hunt isn’t afraid to show off her acting talents; after all she is an Academy Award winner. She has definitely made a cozy spot in Hollywood for herself and her talents.
3. Bradley Cooper
Known For: “Alias”
Oscar Nomination: “Silver Linings Playbook”
“Alias” fans know him as reporter Will Tippin. Now, Cooper stars in more and more movies and is getting recognized for his acting abilities.
4. Sally Field
Known For: “The Flying Nun” and “Brothers & Sisters”
Oscar Nomination: “Lincoln”
Oscar Win: “Norma Rae” and “Places in the Heart”
It’s really no surprise that Sally Field has won two Oscars. She has been around Hollywood for years, and it was only a matter of time before “The Flying Nun” flew into the Dolby Theatre and snagged that gold statue.
5. George Clooney
Known For: “The Facts of Life” and“ER”
Oscar Nomination: “Good Night, and Good Luck,” “Michael Clayton,” “Up in the Air,” “The Ides of March” and “The Descendants”
Oscar Win: “Syriana” and “Argo”
Back in the day he made hearts go pitter-patter as Doug Ross, but there’s so much more to Clooney. For example, his acting, writing, producing and directing abilities are repeatedly honored with prestigious awards. He’s crazy good.
6. Melissa McCarthy
Known For: “Gilmore Girls,” “Samantha Who?” and “Mike & Molly”
Oscar Nomination: “Bridesmaids”
This is one hilarious lady. She first stole hearts as chef Sookie St.James on “Gilmore Girls,” but her role in the comedy “Bridesmaids” really put her on the map - the Oscar map to be exact.
7. Glenn Close
Known For: “Damages”
Oscar Nomination: “The World According to Garp,” “The Big Chill,” “The Natural,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Dangerous Liaisons” and “Albert Nobbs”
Glenn Close isn’t afraid to try all sorts of parts - some have even scored her Oscar noms - six to be exact - but each week fans love to watch her strut her stuff as Patty Hewes in “Damages.”
8. Don Cheadle
Known For: “Picket Fences” and “House of Lies”
Oscar Nomination: “Hotel Rwanda”
Every week, Don Cheadle portrays Marty Kaan on “House of Lies,” but it was his role as Paul Rusesabagina in “Hotel Rwanda” that the Academy noticed.
9. Taraji P. Henson
Known For: “The Division,” “Boston Legal” and “Person of Interest”
Oscar Nomination: “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
She was lucky enough to star alongside Brad Pitt, but fans adore Henson for putting the bad guys behind bars on CBS’ hit drama “Person of Interest.”
10. Alec Baldwin
Known For: “30 Rock”
Oscar Nomination: “The Cooler”
This is one funny actor. Not only was he nominated for an Oscar, but he also received many noms and wins for playing Jack Donaghy on the comedy “30 Rock.”
11. Laura Linney
Known For: “Frasier” and “The Big C”
Oscar Nomination: “You Can Count on Me,” “Kinsey” and “The Savages”
What can’t Laura Linney do? Not only is she a critically acclaimed movie star, but she is also beloved for her roles on TV like as cancer-stricken Cathy Jamison on “The Big C.”
12. Felicity Huffman
Known For: “Sports Night,” “Frasier” and “Desperate Housewives”
Oscar Nomination: “Transamerica”
You either loved her or hated her as Lynette Scavo on “Desperate Housewives,” but one thing remains true and that is Felicity Huffman can act. Do you think she gets any tips from fabulously talented hubby William H. Macy?
13. Charles Durning
Known For: “Evening Shade,” “Everybody Loves Raymond” and “Rescue Me”
Oscar Nomination: “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” and “To Be or Not to Be”
Charles Durning is a legendary actor who sadly died in December 2012. Not only will he be remembered for his films, but also for his recurring roles on television.
14. Chloe Sevigny
Known For: “Big Love,” “American Horror Story,” and “Portlandia”
Oscar Nomination: “Boys Don’t Cry”
She most recently appeared on FOX’s “The Mindy Project,” but she is widely recognized as Nicolette Grant on “Big Love.” Sevigny can pull of any role, just like she did in “Boys Don’t Cry.”
15. Rachel Griffiths
Known For: “Six Feet Under” and “Brothers & Sisters”
Oscar Nomination: “Hilary and Jackie”
Before she made Brenda Chenowith and Sarah Walker popular, Rachel Griffiths was busy getting nominated for her part in “Hilary and Jackie,” a film about cellist Jacqueline du Pre. Griffiths played Jacqueline’s sister, Hilary.
16. Anna Paquin
Known For: “True Blood”
Oscar Win: “The Piano”
Did you know Sookie Stackhouse won an Academy Award at the age of 11? Now that’s talent. Her success started at a young age, and it doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.
17. Mary McDonnell
Known For: “Grey’s Anatomy,” “The Closer” and “Major Crimes”
Oscar Nomination: “Dances with Wolves” and “Passion Fish”
When she isn’t busy investigating crimes for the Major Crimes Division as Captain Sharon Raydor on “Major Crimes,” Mary McDonnell is busy getting nominated for her fabulous roles in film.
18. Laura Dern
Known For: “Enlightened”
Oscar Nomination: “Rambling Rose”
Laura Dern must follow in her mother’s, Diane Ladd, footsteps when it comes to acting. They were both recognized by the Academy for “Rambling Rose,” and they both starred alongside one another in the recently canceled “Enlightened.”
19. Linda Hunt
Known For: “The Practice” and “NCIS: Los Angeles”
Oscar Win: “The Year of Living Dangerously”
Some might recognize Linda Hunt as Hetty Lange on “NCIS: LA” or as Miss Schlowski in “Kindergarten Cop,” but she took home the big award - an Oscar - for playing a man.
20. Mary Tyler Moore
Known For: “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Rhoda” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show”
Oscar Nomination: “Ordinary People”
Mary Tyler Moore really did make it afterall. From playing Laura Petrie alongside Dick Van Dyke to playing Mary Richards on “Rhoda” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” it was the role of Beth Jarrett in “Ordinary People” that got her the nomination.
Would you rather see these actors on TV, motion pictures or both?