Vincent Cassel, “Black Swan”
Sure, lead actress Natalie Portman is getting all the buzz in this dark drama about a ballet dancer undergoing a psychological meltdown, but it’s Cassel’s turn as her unrelenting taskmaster that pushes her to emotional and physical limits.
Damon pokes fun at his persona playing a cocky Texas Ranger who’s more bluster than bravado. Opposite Jeff Bridges’ over-the-top Rooster Cogburn, he provides the film’s understated comic touch.
Ed Harris, “The Way Back”
In Peter Weir’s pic that recreates the trek of POWs who walked from Russia to India for their freedom, Harris’ contribution as the wise American gives the film a bit more gravitas.
Dustin Hoffman, “Barney’s Version”
Hoffman has fun delivering the “mazel tovs” and “boychicks” with flair in his audience-pleasing turn as Paul Giamatti’s father in the adaptation of the Mordecai Richler novel.
Bill Murray, “Get Low”
Murray’s often underappreciated drama side gets another look here as he delivers a fine low-key performance as a funeral director trying to make client Robert Duvall happy.
Justin Timberlake, “The Social Network”
Transitioning from music to “Saturday Night Live” to film has been seamless for Timberlake, who would give the Oscars another youth hook. It was tough to root for his character’s befriending of Mark Zuckerberg, while alienating him from Eduardo Saverin, but the perf was worthy of attention.
The buck goes there
Leonard DiCaprio | Robert Duvall | Jesse Eisenberg | Colin Firth |James Franco | Ryan Gosling
Lead actors in the mix
Andrew Garfield | Jeremy Renner | Geoffrey Rush | Mark Ruffalo | Christian Bale | Sam Rockwell
Supporting actors in the mix