Best actor nominees

Colin Firth won the best actor Oscar for The King's Speech. We take a look at all the nominees in that category.

Javier Bardem

Javier Bardem

Age: 41

Nominated for: Biutiful

The character: Terminally-ill criminal Uxbal struggles to reconcile fatherhood, love, spirituality, crime, guilt and mortality amidst the dangerous underworld of Barcelona.

Previous Oscar wins: One (best supporting actor in No Country for Old Men, 2007)

Previous Oscar nominations: Two

He said: "The major gift of this movie is what I've learnt while doing it, personally and professionally. Professionally, I learnt a lot of things. Personally, I'm still working it out. That's how intense it was."

The critics said: "Bardem is an actor with, emotionally speaking, a solid pair of shoulders - just as well, because his character carries the weight of the world on his." Screen Daily

Jeff Bridges

Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit

Age: 61

Nominated for: True Grit

The character: Rooster Cogburn, a US Marshal trying to track down a ruthless criminal through the old West.

Previous Oscar wins: One (best actor in Crazy Heart, 2009)

Previous Oscar nominations: 5

He said: "I didn't want to jump into the Duke's boots. So I could do it fresh, as I would with any role. And that's what I did."

The critics said: "Jeff Bridges - stooped and shambling, with a gravelly drawl - gives us the Duke by way of the Dude in the Coen brothers' satisfying, back-to-basics overhaul of the antique John Wayne classic. The Guardian

Jesse Eisenberg

Jesse Eisenberg

Age: 27

Nominated for: The Social Network

The character: Mark Zuckerberg, the Harvard student who conceived Facebook and made billions.

Previous Oscar wins: None

Previous Oscar nominations: None

He said: "In the movie the character that Aaron [Sorkin] created is a guy that is desperately trying to fit in and doesn't have the social wherewithal to do so."

The critics said: "It's a mark of how rigorously conceived this interpretation of Zuckerberg is - and how fastidiously Eisenberg embodies it - that sometimes it's hard to look at him without wanting to thump him." The Telegraph

Colin Firth

Colin Firth in The King's Speech

Age: 50

Nominated for: The King's Speech

The character: The reluctant king, George VI, battles with a nervous stammer as he leads a nation on the brink of war.

Previous Oscar wins: None

Previous Oscar nominations: One

He said: "One of the things that was most painful to observe about George VI is that if you read what he wrote, this is a man with a subtle, elegant mind. He had wit, a strong sense of irony and was judged as dull-witted because he couldn't express all that."

The critics said: "It is an anti-acting role, yet Firth doesn't ever stop communicating: pain, sadness, yearning; intelligence and humour demanding escape; and the fierce self-possession of a man born to privilege." Empire

James Franco

Franco plays real-life climber Aron Ralston in Danny Boyle's film

Age: 32

Nominated for: 127 Hours

The character: Real-life rock climber Aron Ralston who becomes trapped by a falling boulder in a Utah canyon.

Previous Oscar wins: None

Previous Oscar nominations: None

He said: "Acting in isolation for the majority of the film is very unusual. When Tom Hanks did it for Castaway he had the whole island to walk around on. I was in a single place."

The critics said: "Franco's performance is a brilliant show of constrained muscularity." Time Out

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