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Where did the 2016 Oscar Nominees Study?

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Just a breath away from the 2016 Academy Awards, the Oscars betting odds are on fire. And as suspense reaches its peak, we explore a less-known aspect of this year’s Oscar nominees – where they studied before hitting the spotlight and becoming Hollywood’s darlings. 

Eddie Redmayne

Versatile British actor and 2015 winner of the Academy Award for Best Actor, Eddie Redmayne is the perfect example of an actor who received high quality education at all levels. He was educated at the UK’s highly prestigious Eton College, and then went on to study history of art at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, graduating with honors in 2003.This year he got his second Oscar nomination, for Best Actor, following his performance in The Danish Girl as Lili Elbe, one of the first known recipients of sex reassignment surgery.


Matt Damon

Hollywood’s nice guy Matt Damon attended Harvard University (class of 1992). However, he dropped out before graduating in order to take a lead role in the film Geronimo: An American Legend. While at Harvard and in the context of a playwriting course assignment, he wrote an early draft for the screenplay of Good Will Hunting, the film that would later establish him as one of the screen’s most promising rising stars, giving him his first Oscar for Best Screenplay. In 2013, he was awarded the Harvard Arts Medal. How will he fare this year, having been nominated for Best Actor for his portrayal of an astronaut stranded in space in The Martian? We’ll find out soon…


Cate Blanchett

Twice Academy Award-winner Australian actress Cate Blanchett is nominated again this year for Best Actress for the film Carol – and she’s also another famous dropout. Blanchett studied economics (!) and fine arts at the University of Melbourne but left after one year to go travelling. However, upon returning to her country, she attended the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) with the aim of pursuing an acting career. So far, that’s working out pretty well for her.


Tom Hardy

Despite having had an active acting career since 2001, British actor Tom Hardy only made his breakthrough with 2010’s Inception. Ever since, he’s continued to climb the ladder of success, starring in films such as Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Lawless and Legend. 2016 is definitely his year, as he received his first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his role in The Revenant. As if this wasn’t enough, Mad Max: Fury Road in which he also stars reached an astonishing number of 10 Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. But where did it all begin? Hardy studied in the UK at Richmond Drama School and, subsequently, at the Drama Centre London where he pursued studies in method acting


Rachel McAdams

Canadian actress Rachel McAdams had a breakout role in 2004’s Mean Girls. After this, box office hits including Wedding Crashers, Sherlock Holmes and The Vow followed. Artistic recognition came this year with her first Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, for her role as a Boston Globe reporter in Spotlight. But did you know that McAdams graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts honors degree in 2001, having studied theatre at York University? We bet you didn’t. 


Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu

Everyone’s favorite Mexican filmmaker, Alejandro González Iñárritu won Best Director last year for Birdman, and it’s possible he’ll strike gold for a consecutive year with a second Oscar for The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio. Born in Mexico City in 1963, he had a flare for music and visuals since childhood. After travelling for some years in his early adult life, Iñárritu returned to Mexico City where he graduated with a degree in communications from Universidad Iberoamericana.


George Miller

Australian film director and producer George Miller made his feature directorial debut with Mad Max in 1979. Two sequels followed: Mad Max 2 (1981) and Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985). Three decades years later, the fourth instalment of the Mad Max franchise Mad Max: Fury Road hit the screens, for which Miller received two Academy Award Nominations for Best Director and Best Picture (as a producer). But before the Mad Max franchise frenzy, Miller studied – surprisingly enough – medicine at the University of New South Wales. He never actually practiced medicine as, in the end, filmmaking won his heart.


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Written by Sofia Konstantzou
Sofia formerly worked for QS's social media team. She holds a Master of Arts in Brands, Communication and Culture from Goldsmiths, University of London. She is originally from Athens, Greece.

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