In a year when history could be made by awarding Best Picture to a film without a director nomination ("Argo") for only the fourth time in 85 years, less attention has been paid to the potential of Daniel Day-Lewis becoming the first man to win three Best Actor Oscars. Is his win inevitable?
He has already swept most key awards season prizes along the way for playing 16th president Abraham Lincoln, including wins at the Golden Globes, SAG, Critics' Choice, and BAFTA. He was also honored by the New York Film Critics Circle.
This is his fifth Oscar nomination. He previous won Best Actor for "My Left Foot" (1989) and "There Will Be Blood" (2007).
He plays bread-stealing fugitive Jean Valjean in the epic adaptation of the long-running stage musical, for which he was nominated for SAG, BAFTA, Critics' Choice. He won a Golden Globe in the Comedy/Musical category, where he didn't have to go head-to-head against Day-Lewis.
This is Jackman's first Oscar nomination.
For his role as bipolar former teacher Pat Solitano, he was awarded Best Actor by the National Board of Review and received nominations from SAG, the Golden Globes (he lost to Jackman), and Critics' Choice, where he lost his Best Actor bid to Day-Lewis but won a separate award for Best Actor in a Comedy.
This is Cooper's first Oscar nomination.
He plays an alcoholic airline pilot who saves his passengers during an emergency landing. For his performance he has been nominated at the Golden Globes, SAG, and Critics' Choice, as well as the Chicago Film Critics Assn. and the Online Film Critics Society, but he has not won a major award this season.
This is Washington's sixth Oscar nomination. He has won two of his previous bids: Best Supporting Actor for "Glory" (1989) and Best Actor for "Training Day" (2001).
For his role as a heavy-drinking World War II vet taken under the wing of a charismatic cult leader, Phoenix won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor and received several other nominations and wins from regional critics' groups. He was also nominated at the Golden Globes, Critics' Choice Awards, and BAFTA Awards. though he was snubbed by SAG.
This is the third Oscar nomination for Phoenix, who was previously nominated for Best Supporting Actor for "Gladiator" (2000) and Best Actor for "Walk the Line" (2005).