'Behind the Candelabra's' Matt Damon: Before the Emmys, 'Good Will Hunting' and 'Mystic Pizza'

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Though Matt Damon has had a fairly lengthy Hollywood career, his Emmy nomination for lead actor as Scott Thorson, Liberace's lover, in HBO's "Behind the Candelabra" is his first. Of course, that's because Damon usually focuses on the big screen.

You may recognize him from movies like "The Bourne Identity" and, most recently, "Elysium." He's also that guy who wrote a script with his buddy,  Ben Affleck, and won an Oscar for it. Surely, you remember "Good Will Hunting."

Welcome to Before They Were Emmy Nominees. Each Tuesday and Wednesday between now and the Emmy Awards on Sept. 22, we're going to look back at some early and obscure roles of a few of this year's acting nominees. (See Zap2it's Before They Were Nominees photo gallery.)

For Damon, obscure roles really aren't his thing. After all, he's one of the biggest movie stars on the planet. There are definitely some you may have missed, though. For instance, did you know Damon appeared in "Mystic Pizza," the 1988 film that brought Julie Roberts her first critical success. Matt gets one line in the movie, his first film credit, at a family dinner.

That's not to say Damon doesn't make the occasional TV appearances. He popped up on a 2002 episode of "Will & Grace" as a rival of Jack's ( Sean Hayes). Both men wanted to win the final spot in a gay men's chorus. It turns out Damon's character isn't gay, but just really wants to sing in the group.

Then there's the roles he'll always be remembered for no matter what he does. The biggest of those is likely 1997's "Good Will Hunting," which introduced Matt to the world on a grand scale. While he'd had several screen credits before that point, everyone know who Damon and Affleck were after that movie.

Finally, there's the movie that made him one of the world's biggest action stars. In 2002 "The Bourne Identity" kick started a franchise that Damon returned to twice more, as a soldier with special training and severe memory loss.

These are only a few of the many, many roles Damon has had. He's also appeared in movies like "The Talented Mr. Ripley," "Chasing Amy," "Dogma" and "Saving Private Ryan," among dozens of others. What's your favorite thing he's done?

Photo/Video credit: HBO/Miramax
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