While a college education is not a requirement to be an actor, many of the acting nominees for this year’s Academy Awards were college students. Some studied drama or theatre, but others had more traditional majors. Some attended for only a short time, but others completed their degrees. Here is a list of the acting nominees who attended college.
Best Actor Nominees
Steve Carell was nominated for playing John Eleuthere du Pont in Foxcatcher. Carell attended Denison University in Granville, Ohio. He majored in History and graduated in 1984. While at Denison, he was the goalie of the hockey team, a member of a student improvisational comedy troupe, and a disc jockey for the college radio station.
Bradley Cooper was nominated for playing Chris Kyle in American Sniper. Copper initially attended Villanova University in his hometown of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. However, after attending one year, he transferred to Georgetown University where he graduated in 1997 with a degree in English. He later went on to receive his MFA at the Actor Studio Drama School at the New School in New York City.
Benedict Cumberbatch was nominated for playing Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Cumberbatch attended the University of Manchester in England and studied Drama. Later he attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and received his M.A. in Classical Acting.
Michael Keaton was nominated for playing the Birdman in Birdman. Keaton attended Kent State University in Ohio in 1971-72. He majored in journalism and speech, but did not graduate.
Eddie Redmayne was nominated for playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Redmayne received his degree from Trinity College of University of Cambridge in England in Art History.
Best Actress Nominees
Felicity Jones was nominated for playing Jane Wilde Hawking in The Theory of Everything. Jones attended Washam College of the University of Oxford in England. She graduated in 2006 with a degree in English.
Julianne Moore was nominated for playing Dr. Alice Howland in Still Alice. Moore received her BFA in Theatre from Boston University in 1983.
Rosamund Pike was nominated for playing Amy Elliott-Dunne in Gone Girl. Pike attend Wadham College of the University of Oxford in England. In college she studied English Literature, but did not graduate.
Reese Witherspoon was nominated for playing Cheryl Strayed in Wild. Known for attending Harvard in Legally Blonde, Witherspoon actually attended Stanford University in California. In college she studied English Literature, but did not graduate.
Best Supporting Actor Nominees
Robert Duvall was nominated for playing Judge Joseph Palmer in The Judge. Duvall attended Principia College in Elsha, Illinois. He received is degree in Liberal Arts in 1953.
Ethan Hawke was nominated for playing Mason Evans, Sr. in Boyhood. Hawke tried college a few times, but never graduated. He first enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but left after being cast in Dead Poets Society. He later enrolled at New York University to study English, but did not complete his degree.
Edward Norton was nominated for playing Mike Shiner in Birdman. Norton attended Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. He graduated in 1991 with a degree in History. During his time at Yale he was a competitor rower and acted in university productions.
J.K. Simmons was nominated for playing Terence Fletcher in Whiplash. Simmons attended the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana. He graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music.
Best Supporting Actress Nominees
Laura Dern was nominated for playing Barbara “Bobbi” Grey in Wild. She did not receive her college degree, but did attend to well known universities in Los Angeles: University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. Dern attended UCLA for two days before leaving to film the movie Blue Velvet. Later she attended USC, but only attended for one semester.
Meryl Streep was nominated for playing The Witch in Into the Woods. Streep attended Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York where she received her degree in Drama in 1971. She then went on to attend Yale University and received a MFA in Drama in 1975. During her education, she also was a visiting student at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Later, in 1981, Dartmouth gave Streep a Honorary Doctor of Arts degree.