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- 1Up 96Down 4Fassbender appeared in about 80% of all 2011 movies, including a 'revealing' and praised turn as a sex addict in Steve McQueen's "Shame" and a memorable role as psychologist Karl Jung in David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method." It wasn't enough to earn him a Best Actor nod, however, as he was edged out by two other "breakthrough" performances: Demián Bichir in "A Better Life" and Jean Dujardin in "The Artist."
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- 3Up 71Down 15Actor, director, writer and comedian Albert Brooks was widely praised for his going-against-type role as a shady gangland figure in the indie sensation "Drive," earning a bevy of critics circle awards and even scoring a Golden Globe nomination. But he was passed over in the Best Supporting Actor category at the Oscars.
- 4Up 62Down 16Many of the Best Actress nominees have been commonly shortlisted for the prize for most of awards season. There seemed little doubt Michelle Williams (for "My Week with Marilyn"), Viola Davis (for "The Help"), Glenn Close (for "Albert Nobbs") and of course Meryl Streep (for "The Iron Lady") would get mentions, and they did. Tilda Swinton's bold work in "We Need to Talk About Kevin" was a relatively late addition to the horserace, even though she has previously won an Oscar for her supporting work in "Michael Clayton." After Swinton won the National Board of Review's award for Best Actress, and was nominated for a Golden Globe, she seemed an obvious choice to fill out the Best Actress category on Oscar night. Instead, her "wild card" spot went to Rooney Mara for her take on Lisbeth Salander in David Fincher's "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo."
- 5Up 45Down 15Dark, brooding Michael Shannon - perhaps best known to audiences as unpredictable Treasury agent Nathan van Alden on "Boardwalk Empire" - was praised for his role as a possibly schizophrenic husband and father in the art-house disaster film "Take Shelter." He took home a number of critics awards, won Best Actor in the Village Voice film poll and is up for the Independent Spirit Award. But it was not enough momentum to crack this year's tough Best Actor race, and "Take Shelter" went unnominated in any categories.
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