He could have been a contender a lot sooner.
Reddit user ZCatcher has unearthed a screen test Marlon Brando, then 23, submitted for "Rebel Without A Cause." As ThePlaylist points out, the script Brando is reading in the test never made it to the screen. In fact, it would be eight years before "Rebel Without A Cause" even hit the big screen: James Dean famously starred in the seminal film, which was released in 1955.
While Brando didn't get the "Rebel Without A Cause" role, his career wasn't any worse for wear. Four years after this screen test, the actor starred in "A Street Car Named Desire"; three years after that, he was in "On the Waterfront." Brando won Best Actor at the 1955 Academy Awards for his performance in that classic feature.
Watch the screen test -- complete with an interview with Brando -- in the window above.