Always a competitive field, this year's Best Supporting Actor contenders could all be first time nominees and, more than likely, produce a debutant winner.
MATT DAMON – INVICTUS
If he isn't nominated for Best Actor for The Informant!, this could be Damon's consolation, playing Springboks captain Francois Pienaar opposite Morgan Freeman's Mandela.
ZACH GALIFIANAKIS – THE HANGOVER*
A year ago most people had never heard of this comic, now everyone knows him as the guy with the beard from The Hangover, the raucous comedy in which Galifianakis steals every scene.
WOODY HARRELSON – THE MESSENGER
After comic turns in 2012 and Zombieland, Harrelson gets serious in The Messenger as one of two soldiers who delivers the death notices of US soldiers to their widows.
JUDE LAW – SHERLOCK HOLMES*
A crowded Best Actor field may leave Downey jnr out in the cold again but Law, as Dr Watson in Guy Ritchie's take on Sherlock Holmes, could score his third Oscar nomination.
CHRISTIAN MCKAY – ME AND ORSON WELLES
I'd never heard of this British actor before this film, but when almost every review mentions 'Oscar' and McKay, who plays a young Orson Welles, in the same sentence you pay attention.
ALFRED MOLINA – AN EDUCATION*
A respected actor of many years, Molina's wonderfully comic turn in Lone Scherfig's film could be described as scene-stealing - and how! It could also earn him his first nomination.
CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER – THE LAST STATION
Even though this film is about Leo Tolstoy, veteran actor Plummer is being campaigned for Support, not that category fraud is a new thing. Surprise: the star of The Sound of Music has never been nominated for an Oscar.
PETER SARSGAARD – AN EDUCATION*
Competing with co-stars Molina and Carey Mulligan, it is easy to overlook just how good Sarsgaard is as the charming wolf in sheep's clothing. But if voters have to choose between the men, I think they'll go with Molina.
STANLEY TUCCI – THE LOVELY BONES*
Some suggest that Tucci could be nominated for Julie & Julia, but I think his best bet is here as the neighbourhood killer in Peter Jackson's adaptation of the bestseller.
CHRISTOPH WALTZ – INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS*
After winning Best Actor at Cannes this year, Austrian actor Waltz has been considered the favourite in this category. From the very first scene he owns the film, speaking English, German, French and Italian – beat that Meryl!