Two of last year's five nominees are in contention again this year. John Hawkes features in the Sundance hit "Martha Marcy May Marlene" about a woman with multiple personalities. And Geoffrey Rush plays a son struggling to cope with his domineering mother in her dying days in "The Eye of the Storm." Also in the mix this year is last year's Best Actor champ Colin Firth ("The King's Speech") for his supporting turn in "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy."
This year's race includes 2005 supporting champ George Clooney ("Syriana") who helmed "The Ides of March," a political drama in which he has a featured role as a political candidate with past Best Actor nominee Ryan Gosling starring as his ambitious campaign manager. 2001 winner Jim Broadbent ("Iris") plays another supportive spouse, this time to Meryl Streep as Maggie Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." And 1995 victor Kevin Spacey ("The Usual Suspects") is a cutthroat banker in "Margin Call."
Other notable contenders include screen vet Christopher Plummer as a widow coping with coming out in "Beginners"; 1982 Best Actor Ben Kingsley ("Gandhi") in Martin Scorsese's 3-D debut "Hugo Cabret" and 2005 Best Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Capote") in featured roles in both "The Ides of March" and "Moneyball."
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