A Brief History of Oscar-Nominated Actors in Food Commercials

February 15, 2017

There’s a litany of actors who’ve been slumming it in the world of commercials since the beginning of their careers. Sometimes, commercials are their easiest entryway into fame; at other points, though, they spend their twilight in these ads. It’s not terribly shocking that a number of Oscar-nominated actors have been in food and drink commercials, both pre- and post-fame. The first actor who comes to mind is Jamie Lee Curtis, Activia spokeswoman. Unfortunately, she’s never been nominated for an Oscar, though she should’ve been for A Fish Called Wanda and True Lies. (Um, can you tell I’m still annoyed about this?)

Anyway, here are some Oscar-nominated performers who were in food commercials at some point in their careers.

1. Jodie Foster for McDonald’s, 1972

2. Paul Newman for Maxwell House, 1980

3. Elisabeth Shue for Burger King, 1983

4. Sharon Stone for Seagrams, 1987

5. Cate Blanchett for Tim Tam Biscuits, 1989

6. Steve Carrell for Brown’s Chicken, 1989

7. Brad Pitt for Pringle’s, 1989

8. Leonardo DiCaprio for BubbleYum, 1991

9. Sean Connery for Suntory Crest Whiskey, 1992

10. Haley Joel Osment for Kraft Cheese, 1992

11. Charlize Theron for Martini, 1993

12. James Franco for Pizza Hut, 1996

13. Marlon Brando for Pepsi, 1999

14. Joe Pesci for Pepsi, 1999

15. Gwyneth Paltrow for Martini, 2004

16. George Clooney for Nespresso, 2006

17. Al Pacino for Vittoria Coffee, 2010

18. Julia Roberts for Lavazza, 2010

19. Adrien Brody for Stella Artois, 2011

20. Sylvester Stallone for Warburtons, 2015

What are your favorite food commercials starring actors? Let us know in the comments.

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Mayukh Sen is a James Beard Award-winning food and culture writer in New York. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the New Yorker, Bon Appetit, and elsewhere. He won a 2018 James Beard Award in Journalism for his profile of Princess Pamela published on Food52.

1 Comment

Whiteantlers February 16, 2017
You have outdone yourself! I was so delighted and engrossed with these commercials, I oversteeped my tea. I don't t watch t.v., but my favorite product jingle is by Tim Finn in The Coca Cola Kid. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=ml0TURpHRuw

And I am with you 100% on A Fish Called Wanda. : )