Awards season is upon us again and Irish eyes could be smiling after this afternoon's Oscar nominations are announced but where did Hollywood's biggest stars start out? What were the minor roles they popped up in before fame came calling?

We're in the middle of awards season, with the Golden Globes proving a great night for the Irish with numerous gongs for The Banshees of Inisherin. Martin McDonagh’s black comedy is also in the running for numerous Baftas, taking place on February 19, and the breakout movie of the year, An Cailín Ciúin, is also up for a Bafta.

Oscar fever is in the air ahead of this afternoon's Oscars nominations announcement with hopes high once again for The Banshees, Aftersun and An Cailín Ciúin.

But where did Hollywood's biggest stars start out? What were the minor roles they popped up in before fame came calling?

George Clooney

The future "sexiest man alive" and the doctor who made hearts go giddy-up on E.R., began his acting career in a delightful little schlocker in 1983 called Grizzly II: The Revenge, which, was of course, the sequel to 1976 masterwork, Grizzly.

As you may have guessed, the flick was about a giant, man-eating bear. All hell breaks loose when a giant Grizzly, reacting to the slaughter of his mates by poachers, attacks at a massive rock concert by a famous band in a US National Park. I’m with the bears on this one and sadly, the "famous band" in question was not an early incarnation of Brooklyn indie darlings Grizzly Bear.

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The film, which also features a young Charlie Sheen, the great Laura Dern, the late great Laura Fletcher, who played Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, and Timothy Spall as Rob the Sound Engineer, was never released but features Clooney - in double denim - camping under the stars with his girlfriend before being mauled by Yogi gone bad. I’m sure George made a very sexy corpse.

Marilyn Monroe

You might say that the divine Marilyn first really made audiences and indeed studios sit up and pay attention in The Asphalt Jungle in 1950 but she had bit parts in several movies before that, the first ever being crime drama Dangerous Years in 1947.

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She plays Evie, a waitress at a juke joint called the Gopher Hole. The synopsis for the move reads, "During a warehouse robbery, a youth counsellor is killed by the leader of a teen gang and the prosecuting district attorney is determined to see justice done".

Leonardo DiCaprio

Schlocky horror movies seem to be a springboard for actors who later go onto huge fame and future actor of his generation Leo starred in Critters 3 back in 1991. He played Josh, who watches on as said Critters maul his stepfather to a bloody end.

The rather snappy tagline for this was "You are what they eat". Now, I love a good no-budget horror flick, but this is hardly the start for Leo you might expect. After all, the story goes that an excited Robert De Niro once rang Martin Scorsese to rave about the future star.

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Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gives Critters 3 an approval rating of 0%, but to be fair that rating is only based on reviews from six critics and what do critics know??!

Kerry Condon

Thurles-born actor Kerry Condon may appear to have got her big break after appearing in superlative Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul and she deserves all the rewards for playing Colin Farrell’s exasperated but patient sister Siobhan in The Banshees of Inisherin, but the Tipp star has been a hard-working and very prolific actor since the late nineties.

After appearing in two episodes of shamrock-tinted rural soap Ballykissangel as Mariead Reilly, she was in Rat with Pete Postlethwaite in 2000, which was about a man who comes home from the pub literally rat-arsed in that he turns into a rat, and 2001’s How Harry Became a Tree.

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Warning: this clip contains bad language

She also played the voice of Friday in a load of terrible superhero movies but she has appeared on screen with the Farreller before - and in the most unpleasant way.

In 2003’s Intermission, a great little movie about a group of smalltown Irish delinquents, she plays the café waitress who is punched in the face by Farrell’s very nasty character Lehiff.

So, not quite a debut but certainly that role was in sharp contrast to Kerry being so nice to Colin in Banshees. Here’s a clip of the Farreller after hitting poor Kerry. Trivia fact: this scene was filmed in Rathfarnham shopping centre.

Steve McQueen

The man who would one day be the essence of cool in movies like The Great Escape and The Cincinnati Kid made his first credited feature film debut in 1958 in Never Love a Stranger.

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Based on a novel by Harold Robbins, McQueen plays Martin Cabell, a Jewish law student who is getting bullied by local antisemitic hoods. One day, Martin is befriended by Frankie Kane (played by John Drew Barrymore, son of the great John Barrymore and the father of Drew Barrymore), who teaches him how to box so he can defend himself.

They drift apart but years later, they find themselves on opposite sides of the law - Martin, now assistant district attorney, has pledged to clean up a local crime syndicate and Frankie has fallen in with the mob.

Julia Roberts

Don’t believe anyone who tells you that Julia Roberts, one of the biggest film stars of the past thirty years, started out in Mystic Pizza. Her first movie was actually something called Firehouse in 1987 in which she played Babs. According to IMDB, "Some sexy women get out of Fire Fighter School and go for the jobs they trained for, but first they must survive their male counterparts teasing them".

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Sounds eh, hot. However, she was uncredited in Firehouse and her first credited movie role was as Daryle in 1988 romantic comedy Satisfaction in 1988, which also starred Justine Bateman and, get this, Liam Neeson as club manager who spends a lot of the movie in a very unseasonal black polo neck.

The movie saw Roberts as a member of an all-girl rock group called Mystery, struggling with men and drugs during a summer resort gig. By the way, Julia also popped up in a 1988 episode of Miami Vice.

Tom Hanks

Before he got big, real big after Big, everyone’s favourite everyman played Elliot, a psychology student who meets the female lead while he’s out jogging (getting in shape for Forrest Gump, perhaps) in the 1980 slasher flick, He Knows You're Alone.

Meryl Streep

Gay Byrne’s favourite actress has just signed up to star in the new season of Only Murders in the Building but way back in 1976 she made her screen debut in something called Everybody Rides the Carousel, which was an animated "tracing of the eight stages of life, from infancy to old age, as they have been described in the works of psychoanalyst Erik H. Erikson", it sez here.

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Meryl was a voice actor on that production and long before she became the actress with the most Oscar nominations, Streep’s first on-screen appearance was a supporting role in Julia in 1977, which starred Jane Fonda and Vanessa Redgrave. Julia is not to be confused with Meryl’s later film, Julie and Julia.

Julia’s director Fred Zinnemann (who also made a little something called High Noon) actually considered casting Streep in the title role. However, as she was almost totally unknown as an actress - she had only one play to her credit, and never appeared in a film - Zinnemann decided to cast Redgrave instead.

And the actors who have won Oscars for their very first film roles . . .

There are a surprisingly number of stars who were just too damn good first time out.

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Julie Andrews' very first film role in Mary Poppins earned her a Best Actress Oscar in 1965. Well-deserved and it was sweet justice for Julie, as even though she had played the role of Eliza Dolittle on stage for years, she was overlooked for the movie version of My Fair Lady in 1964 - the same year as Mary Poppins - because producer Jack L. Warner didn't think she was "known" enough as a movie actress. How’s that for a spoonful of sugar?

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Barbra Streisand won the best actress Oscar for her role in Funny Girl in 1969, pretty good going for her first time out, especially as she tied with a certain Katharine Hepburn at the Academy Awards that year.

Timothy Hutton won an Oscar in 1981 for his debut role in Ordinary People, in which he played Conrad, a teenager who returns home from a psychiatric facility in an attempt to reconnect with his distant mother (Mary Tyler Moore) and cold father (Donald Sutherland).

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In 1974, 10-year-old Tatum O'Neal won the best supporting actress Oscar for her performance in Paper Moon. O'Neal had no acting experience when she was cast opposite her father, Ryan O'Neal. When she was nominated for an Oscar, Ryan didn’t get a nod, which she claims sparked resentment.

And after Tatum, at just 11 years old, Anna Paquin was the second youngest Oscar winner in 1994 for her first movie, The Piano.

Marlee Matlin starred in her first movie in 1986, Children of a Lesser God, and waltzed off with an Oscar. She played a deaf woman who works at a school for the deaf and falls in love with a man - played by William Hurt - who struggles to understand her.

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It was actually a triple win for Marlee. She also became the first, and so far, only deaf actress to win an Oscar and aged 21, she is still the youngest woman to earn an Oscar in the best actress category.

In her first movie, Jennifer Hudson, who did a very good job playing Aretha Franklin in Respect last year, won an Oscar for her powerhouse role in 2006's Dreamgirls.

And Lupita Nyong'o won an Oscar for her debut role in 12 Years a Slave in 2014 before she'd even graduated Yale School of Drama.

Alan Corr @CorrAlan2