February 4, 2009 | Marcus Varner | 2 Comments With this year’s batch of Oscar nominees, it’s time to scrutinize their early education roots. After all, these are the folks we look to as our on-screen heroes. When they get up and speak, our news media pays attention, endowing then with some kind of credibility, deserved or undeserved. For some inexplicable reason, we think they are more entitled to speak and be heard than the rest. So, let’s see what their educations reveal: head of the class or class clown? This is our Education of Oscar Nominees 2009: Heath Ledger Nominated posthumously for his chilling performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight, Ledger attended Mary’s Mount Primary School in Perth, Australia and then Guildford Grammar School, where he had his first acting gig at age 10 as Peter Pan. He was very successful at dance choreography and chess, winning the Western Australia junior chess championship. Kate Winslet At age 11, this perennial Oscar nominee and winner began studying drama at the Redroofs Theatre School. She was head girl at the co-ed school in Maidenhead, Berkshire, where she received a lot of negative attention as a teenager for being overweight and having overly large feet. As she appears stark naked in most of her films nowadays, it appears Winslet has overcome any insecurities brought on by said bullying. Robert Downey, Jr. Brought back to life in 2008 from the celebrity drug addiction graveyard, this Iron Man grew up in a filmmaking household. His father was an actor, producer, writer, and director of underground films. Growing up in Greenwich Village, NY, Downey attended Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center in upstate NY. When his parents divorced, he went to CA with his father where he dropped out of Santa Monica High School to, of course, pursue acting full-time. So, he’s obviously not the prodigy inventor he portrays, but he sure loves acting. Danny Boyle Before he directed edgy films like Trainspotting, Slumdog Millionaire, Sunlight, and 28 Days Later, this film director actually considered becoming a priest. He was discouraged from pursuing that career path by a priest. He went on to study at Thornleigh Salesian College and University of Wales, Bangor. With a best director Oscar in his grasp, it looks like the film thing worked out pretty well, and he doesn’t have to worry about wearing those uncomfortable-looking robes. David Fincher This Benjamin Button director grew up in Marin County, CA, before moving to Ashland, OR, in his teens. From the age of 8, he began shooting films on an 8mm camera. Cool trivial tidbit: before directing Seven, Fight Club, and Zodiac, Fincher worked for the granddaddy of special effects studios, Industrial Light and Magic, working on films like Return of the Jedi and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (Caaalllliii maaahhhh!). His first directing gig was Aliens 3. Betcha didn’t know that.