Best Supporting Actor

2003 wins: None

Nominated: Golden Globes, BAFTA, Critics’ Choice Awards, Chicago Film Critics, Golden, Satellite Awards, Online Film Critics

Oscar pedigree: Won: “The Color of Money” (1986); nominated: “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (1958), “The Hustler” (1961), “Hud” (1963), “Cool Hand Luke” (1967), “Absence of Malice” (1981), “The Verdict” (1982), “Nobody’s Fool” (1994) (Newman also was nominated in 1968 as a producer for “Rachel, Rachel” and received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award in 1994.)

Director Sam Mendes on Newman’s dedication to acting: “Paul was always honing his performance. He would come in having spent hours in his trailer going over the tiniest little pivotal moments, which is really amazing. I mean, considering the career he’s had, to care that much and not leave anything to chance was inspiring to everyone.”

What we said: “His late-career vocal rasp scarcely in evidence, Newman is in excellent form as the mob boss with a stranglehold on his medium-sized town, and his intimate scenes with (Tom) Hanks possess a lovely great-star-to-great-star quality, without ostentation.” — Todd McCarthy, (June 30)

What the others said: “Newman, who gets nothing but better with age, is riveting as a cold-blooded man of business weighing his legacy against his feelings for a surrogate son … a faultless (performance).” –Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times

This could be the night: Gangster films such as “The Godfather” pics, “GoodFellas” and “The Untouchables” have a rich history in this category come Oscar night.

Then comes the rub: DreamWorks may have a difficult time reminding voters about the film, which came out in the heat of the summer blockbuster season.

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