In "Bernie," Jack Black plays Bernie Tiede, a real life mortician who murdered an elderly widow in East Texas. This is his first Spirit nomination.
John Hawkes stars in "The Sessions" as Mark O'Brien, a poet left immobilized by polio who loses his virginity through a sex surrogate. Hawkes won a Spirit Award for "Winter's Bone" and was also nominated for "Martha Marcy May Marlene."
Thure Lindhardt plays Erik Rothman in "Keep the Lights On," a gay filmmaker in a relationship with a closeted lawyer. This is his first Spirit Award nomination.
Wendell Pierce plays Joe in Joshua Sanchez's drama "Four." This is his first Spirit Award nomination.
In "Killer Joe," Matthew McConaughey plays the title character, a hitman hired by a young man who wants to kill his mother. Including his supporting nomination this year for "Magic Mike," this is his second Spirit Award nomination.
In "Silver Linings Playbook," Bradley Cooper plays Pat Solitano, a manic-depressive man who wants to win back his ex-wife after a stint in an institution. This is his first Spirit Award nomination.