Before a little Canadian film titled Room hit the awards circuit late last year, it’s safe to say that the name Brie Larson probably didn’t ring too many bells with TV or movie goers. In fact, until the 26-year-old won a Golden Globe and a Screen Actors Guild award for her performance in the film, average citizens probably hadn’t even heard of Room.
Based on the book by Canadian-Irish author Emma Donoghue, the movie follows a young woman who has been kidnapped and held against her will for years. The only light in her life? Her five-year-old son Jack (Jacob Tremblay). It’s heavy, emotional and not to be watched without a box of tissues, plus it was all filmed in Toronto which makes it an immediate source of Canadian pride. If you haven’t seen it, we urge you to add it to the list before the Academy Awards on Sunday night.
As for the movie’s star goes, however, we actually guarantee that you’ve seen her before. You just didn’t know it.
1. She got her start on Jay Leno
That’s right, a very young Larson (think 11 years old) first lent a helping hand to The Tonight Show with Jay Leno when she appeared in a couple of scripted sketches as a girl scout. Hey — playing one on TV is probably better than the real thing, right? Well except for the fact that you don’t have access to all of those cookies.
2. It pretty much kickstarted her childhood acting career
Larson went on to nab roles on shows like Popular and Touched by an Angel within the next year. By 2001 she was starring in her own (albeit short-lived series), Raising Dad alongside Bob Saget and Kat Dennings.
3. When she totally rocked out
Specifically, in Scott Pilgram vs. The World, when she played the enviable role of Envy Adams. Of course this was a cult classic, so we can’t say she was breaking through to the mainstream just yet.
4. Then came her big break
In a little award-winning Showtime series known as United States of Tara. For three seasons, Larson played Kate, the angry teenaged daughter of a woman with dissociative identity disorder, alongside the likes of John Corbett, Patton Oswalt and Toni Collette.
5. Followed by a sexual awakening
Larson may have only appeared on two episodes of The League as au pair Ashley, but her sexcapades with Jason Mantzoukas were more than memorable.
6. And a love interest in Jonah Hill
The only bad thing about Larson appearing in 21 Jump Street was that she was so great we totally missed her in the sequel.
7. Did we mention she was in The Kroll Show?
She was an early entrant on the series too, appearing in the pilot episode. Guaranteed that’s because Nick Kroll caught onto her talent during those aforementioned episodes of The League and figured she made the perfect “College Girlfriend.”
8. Heck, she was even Abed’s girlfriend
We weren’t sure anyone could stand up to Danny Pudi’s comedic chops on Community, but Larson proved us wrong with Rachel. No one ran a coat check (or yogurt machine) like she did.
9. And then she teamed up with Amy Schumer
Can you picture Amy Schumer having a sister? We can, and her name is Brie Larson. Okay so obviously the two aren’t related in real life, but they played the heck out of that sibling relationship on Trainwreck. And we couldn’t have imagined anyone else in that role. Not even J-Law.
Basically, it’s almost a crime that people didn’t widely recognize the actress and her multifaceted talents before Room. But now that they’re coming to light, we’re just happy she’s getting her due. And even if she doesn’t bring home the actual trophy on Sunday night, just being nominated means we’re about to see a whole heck of a lot more from the actress.
And that is a very, very good thing indeed. Especially if it means more of this.
The Oscars air Sunday, Feb. 28 on CTV.