It's almost time for the 66th annual Emmy Awards, television's best opportunity to reward itself. Everyone who's anyone in TV will be there, including nominees, the snubbed, and Will Ferrell's kids. The question, though, is: where were all the nominees before the Emmys? They weren't all starring in award-winning television shows throughout the entirety of their careers. We've got the clips to prove it.
Here are seven of tonight's nominees in the days before they were ready for the Emmy spotlight.
1) Michelle Dockery in Hogfather
In this two-part television adaptation of Terry Pratchett's book of the same name, Dockery, nominated for Downton Abbey, plays Susan, the granddaughter of Death. Hogfather, sort of like Father Christmas, is MIA, and Susan tries to find him.
2) Kevin Spacey in Heartburn
In this 1989 film, Kevin Spacey has bleached hair. He shamelessly flirts with Meryl Streep on the subway, then follows her to a group therapy session, puts a gun to her head, and robs everyone. Frank Underwood might want to try this one in the next season of House of Cards.
3) Woody Harrelson in Mother Goose Rock 'n' Rhyme
So this happened. At one time, Harrelson, nominated tonight for True Detective, played a cigar-smoking lamb named Lou. Harrelson may have already been famous for his work as Woody Boyd on Cheers (for which he won an Emmy) when he appeared here, but his Mother Goose work is simply too good to pass up.
4) Jon Hamm in Space Cowboys
Before he was Don Draper, he was Young Pilot #2. Obviously, these are both very memorable roles.
5) Jane Fonda in Barbarella
This clip probably doesn't need any introduction. It's a far cry from her Emmy-nominated work on The Newsroom.
6) Peter Dinklage in Death at a Funeral
Who could ever forget Dinklage, nominated for his work on Game of Thrones, popping out of his lover's coffin?
7) Kerry Washington in Wonderfalls
In the unaired version of this pilot, Washington, nominated for Scandal, played Mahandra, but had to be recast because she couldn't commit to filming the entire season. For those who've seen the series with Tracie Thoms in the role, this will seem a very odd detour (not least of which because it also features Adam Scott, in a role that would eventually go to Lee Pace).