The Academy Awards are only a few days away, which means the end of awards season is almost here. By now, the big players for the 2017 award shows have walked the red carpets, smiled for the cameras, and a few have already even taken home some new pieces of hardware.
This year’s race for Best Lead and Supporting Actors and Actresses is stacked, with veterans like Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman taking on Oscar newbies like Ruth Negga and Emma Stone. The journey to Academy Awards is a long one and for some of this year’s nominees, one that almost didn’t happen.
From Natalie Portman‘s role as the iconic Jackie Kennedy, to Michael Shannon‘s straight-shooting Sheriff in Nocturnal Animals, these are some of this year’s nominated roles that *almost* went to other actors.
LA LA LAND
Emma Watson and Miles Teller were originally in the running to star in La La Land, with Teller set to reunite with his Whiplash director Damian Chazelle. The lead roles of course went to Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, with both actors nominated for Academy Awards, having already taken home Golden Globes for their musical feats. So, Emma could have taken Emma’s role, but ultimately it went to Emma.
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
Matt Damon along with John Krasinksi approached writer and director Kenneth Lonergan with the idea for Best Picture nominee Manchester By The Sea. Damon was originally scheduled to star in the film, but filming for The Martian forced him to decline. He then suggested his Good Will Hunting co-star Casey Affleck, who is up for Best Actor thanks to Damon’s trip to Mars.
Oprah Winfrey and Viola Davis were both considered for roles in Best Picture nominee Hidden Figures, which stars Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, and Octavia Spencer, who earned a Best Supporting Actress nod for her role as a real-life NASA employee. We’re pretty sure Oprah is doing just fine, and we know Davis is doing great. She reprised her Tony-winning role in Fences, earning her a nomination for Best Supporting Actress, Davis’ third Oscar nomination (she was previously nominated for 2008’s Doubt and 2011’s The Help).
Joaquin Phoenix was at one point attached to Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals, likely in the role that eventually went to Michael Shannon. His role as a Texas Sheriff earned Shannon his second Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor, having first been nomination in 2008 for Revolutionary Road.
Rachel Weisz was initially slated to play Jackie Kennedy in Jackie with Darren Aronofsky directing, but the pairing was scrapped after the real-life couple split. The film was eventually directed by Pablo Larrain and stars Natalie Portman, with the role earning Portman her second Oscar nomination for Best Actress (Portman won Best Actress for Black Swan in 2010 and was nominated for Best Supporting Actress in 2004 for Closer).
French actor Isabelle Huppert earned her first Academy Award nomination for Best Actress this year thanks to her raw and visceral role as a woman who is raped and plots revenge on her attacker. The role almost didn’t go to Huppert, with Elle director Paul Verhoeven initially suggesting Nicole Kidman for the part. Thankfully, it all worked out. Huppert has already won a Golden Globe for Elle and Kidman is also up for an Oscar this year, nominated for Best Supporting Actress for Lion.
Watch Jimmy Kimmel host the 59th Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, February 26 starting at 8 pm E.T. on CTV and CTV Two.