A look at the best actor nominees for the 88th Academy Awards, announced on 14 January 2016.
Nominated for: Trumbo
The character: Dalton Trumbo, the Hollywood screenwriter blacklisted because of his ties to the US Communist Party.
Oscar record: No previous nominations.
The critics said: "[Trumbo] is played with great wit and brio by Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston... [He] is the reason for buying the movie ticket. He's furiously watchable as a man more sinned against than sinning." [Toronto Star]
Nominated for: The Martian
The character: Mark Watney, a US astronaut stranded on Mars who has to rely on his wits and ingenuity in order to survive.
Oscar record: Won best original screenplay for Good Will Hunting in 1998. Best actor nomination for same film. Best supporting actor nomination for Invictus in 2010.
The critics said: "Damon has never seemed more at home than he does here, millions of miles adrift. Would any other actor have shouldered the weight of the role with such diligent grace?" [The New Yorker]
Nominated for: The Revenant
The character: Hugh Glass, a 19th Century fur trapper who seeks revenge after he is mauled by a bear and left for dead by his hunting party.
Oscar record: Three best actor nominations for The Aviator in 2005, Blood Diamond in 2007 and The Wolf of Wall Street in 2014. One best supporting actor nomination for What's Eating Gilbert Grape in 1994. Best picture nomination (as producer) for The Wolf of Wall Street.
The critics said: "As Glass, DiCaprio simply endures. He gives the movie a beating heart, offering it up, figuratively speaking, alive and bloody on a platter. It - he - is the most visceral effect in the movie, revenge served warm. Bon appetit." [Time]
Nominated for: Steve Jobs
The character: Steve Jobs, the Apple co-founder and creative genius whose story unfolds backstage at three Apple product launches.
Oscar record: Best supporting actor nomination for 12 Years a Slave in 2014.
The critics said: "[Fassbender's] performance is so microscopically calibrated to catch your eye and heart, you suspect even his famously exacting subject would be a little overawed." [Daily Telegraph]
Nominated for: The Danish Girl
The character: Lili Elbe, the Danish artist and transgender pioneer who was born Einar Wegener in 1882.
Oscar record: Won best actor for The Theory of Everything in 2015.
The critics said: "Redmayne's fine bone-china features are prime movers in all of this being convincing but so is his performance, reticent, vulnerable and acutely observed. It's less flashy than The Theory of Everything but no less satisfying." [Empire]