1. Matt Damon, Invictus
In this true-life tale, South African rugby player Francois Pienaar (Matt Damon
) receives a tall order from new president Nelson Mandela—win the World Cup and unite the country.
In 1998, Damon won a Best Screenplay Oscar for Good Will Hunting
. He was nominated as Best Actor for the same film.
Credit: Oscilloscope Pictures
2. Woody Harrelson, The Messenger
Woody Harrelson hasn't been nominated for an Oscar since his turn as the founder of Hustler in 1997's The People vs. Larry Flynt. This year, he earns his second nomination for playing a very different character—Capt. Tony Stone, a member of the Army's casualty notification service in The Messenger. The role also earned him a Golden Globe® nomination.
Credit: Sony Pictures Classics
3. Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Bringing author Leo Tolstoy to life on the big screen is no easy task. In The Last Station, veteran actor Christopher Plummer depicts Tolstoy's struggle to find balance in his life. This is Plummer's first Oscar nomination after more than 50 years in Hollywood.
4. Stanley Tucci, The Lovely Bones
With two Emmy® and two Golden Globe® wins on his résumé, it's clear Stanley Tucci is no stranger to awards shows. This year, it's is his creepy turn as a child murderer George Harvey in The Lovely Bones
that garnered this beloved actor his first Oscar nomination.
Credit: Universal Pictures
5. Christoph Waltz, Inglourious Basterds
He's already won Golden Globe® and Screen Actors Guild awards® for his portrayal of the deceivingly charming Nazi scoundrel Col. Hans Landa in Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds. Best known for his work in Europe, this is the Austrian-born actor's first Oscar nomination.