2011 Best Actor Nominees
Meet the 2011 Academy Award nominees for Best Actor.
Colin Firth
Colin Firth, The King's Speech *WINNER
This British actor is no stranger to awards season—after being nominated for an Oscar® and a Golden Globe® in 2010 for his work in A Single Man, the Academy is recognizing Colin Firth for his performance as King George VI in The King's Speech, a historic drama that chronicles the king's impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped him along the way.

Firth first stole audiences' hearts as Mr. Darcy in the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice. His star rose steadily when he went on to appear in several box office hits, including Bridget Jones' Diary and Love Actually. He even showed off his singing talents as one of Meryl Streep's love interests in the film adaptation of the musical Mamma Mia!.

Javier Bardem
Javier Bardem, Biutiful
Javier Bardem's latest critical success, Biutiful, chronicles the life of Uxbal, an underworld figure and devoted father as he attempts to reconcile with a past love and secure his family's future as he prepares for his own death. 

Early in his career, Bardem was a hit in his home country of Spain, appearing in films like High Heels. His first international hit came in 1992 with his role in Jamon Jamon, which co-starred his now-wife Penelope Cruz. Over the years, Bardem has continued to wow critics and audiences worldwide—he showed his hardened side in No Country for Old Men, his tragic side in The Sea Inside and his romantic side in Love in the Time of Cholera and Eat Pray Love.
Jeff Bridges
Jeff Bridges, True Grit
In True Grit, a Coen brothers remake of the Western classic, Jeff Bridges plays hard-nosed U.S. Marshall Reuben J. ???Rooster??? Cogburn. The role was originally portrayed by John Wayne.

This is the sixth Oscar nomination for Bridges, who was previously recognized for his work in The Last Picture Show, Thunderbolt and Lightfoot, Starman, The Contender and Crazy Heart. The 61-year-old son of Hollywood legends Lloyd Bridges and Dorothy Dean Bridges received his first win last year for his role as the washed up, alcoholic, country music singer Bad Blake in Crazy Heart.
Jesse Eisenberg
Jesse Eisenberg, The Social Network
The Social Network, an Aaron Sorkin-adapted film that chronicles the founding of Facebook, stars Jesse Eisenberg as the company's ruthlessly ambitious co-founder, Mark Zuckerberg. This is the first Oscar nomination for the New York-native, who has already been nominated this year for a Screen Actors Guild Award® and a Golden Globe.

This young star made his big-screen debut in 2002, appearing alongside Kevin Kline in The Emperor's Club. Eisenberg has achieved critical success over the years for his roles in The Squid and the Whale, Adventureland and Zombieland, but it wasn't until his breakout role in the Social Network that moviegoers took notice as well.

James Franco
James Franco, 127 Hours
James Franco is attending this year's Academy Awards as both a nominee and a host. He will share hosting duties with actress Anne Hathaway, while also being recognized for his performance in 127 Hours as mountain climber who is forced to take desperate measures in order to survive.

Franco began his acting career as a TV star, appearing in the short-lived but critically acclaimed series Freaks and Geeks. He subsequently earned the title role in the 2001 biopic James Dean, for which he won a Golden Globe and nominations for an Emmy and a Screen Actors Guild Award. He later moved on to the big screen, showcasing his talents in fan-favorites such as Spider-Man and Pineapple Express. In 2008, Franco won an Independent Spirit Award for his supporting role as the boyfriend of politician Harvey Milk in Milk.