There Will Be Blood
Oscar History: Four nominations, two wins (in 2008, and for My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown in 1989.)
2008 Scorecard: Day-Lewis also won at Critic’s Choice, the Golden Globes and the SAG Awards.
Before He Hit Oscar: The Irish citizen was a shy, boarding school student in Kent, England, who ran away from campus because he hated it so much.
But Enough About Him… “Judging by the stuff that’s been said about me, it sounds as if I’m always dragged to the set in a straitjacket,” Day-Lewis, 50, told the Sunday Express. “It’s not my thing to engage in an orgy of self-promotion.”
Oscar History: Three nominations, one win (for Syriana in 2006).
2008 Scorecard: He won a National Board of Review award and was nominated for Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice awards.
Before He Hit Oscar: The Kentucky native tried out for a spot with the Cincinnati Reds baseball team.
A Different Direction: “My hope is that as time goes on and people want to see less and less of me onscreen,” Clooney, 46, told Time, “I’ll be able to direct.”
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Oscar History: Three nominations, no wins.
2008 Scorecard: Depp won a Golden Globe and was up for a Critics’ Choice award.
Before He Hit Oscar: The Kentucky native fronted a rock band called The Kids.
Playing the Murderous Barber: “That was always the difficulty, taking a character like that and attempting to make people feel for him,” Depp, 44, told Entertainment Weekly.
TOMMY LEE JONES
In the Valley of Elah
Oscar History: Three nominations, one win (for The Fugitive in 1993).
2008 Scorecard: He’s won a SAG Award, as part of the cast of No Country for Old Men.
Before He Hit Oscar: The Texan roomed with Al Gore while they attended Harvard.
Let Him Entertain You: “It’s no mean calling to bring fun into the afternoons of large numbers of people,” Jones, 61, told Time about acting. “That, too, is part of my job and I’m happy to serve.”
Oscar History: This is his first nomination.
2008 Scorecard: Mortensen was also up for Golden Globe, SAG and Critics’ Choice awards.
Before He Hit Oscar: The native New Yorker was fired after his first day as an ice cream vendor.
On Eastern’s Famous Nude Scene: “They say ‘Cut!’ I look around and I’m [naked] in a heap in the corner,” Mortensen, 49, told Entertainment Weekly. “You feel vulnerable. But the important thing is to not compromise the scene.”