"Extra" takes a closer look at this year's Academy Award nominees for Best Actor -- Demián Bichir, George Clooney, Jean Dujardin, Gary Oldman and Brad Pitt.
Best Actor Oscar Nominees 2012: Did You Know?
Nominated for: "A Better Life"Award-Worthy: Although a well-known actor in his native Mexico, this is Bichir's first Oscar nomination. He is best known to American audiences for playing the drug lord who falls for Mary Louise Parker in the Showtime series "Weeds."Interesting Fact: For one of the memorable scenes in "A Better Life" as the gardener Carlos, Bichir had to scale a tall palm tree without the aid of machinery. "In any group of gardeners, there's one guy who does that," Bichir told EW. "He has to be the most fit, he has to be fearless and he has to believe in God. Because you're really risking your life."Quote: "We all the have the capacity to be two things. And, after all, I was named for both the devil and the angel. 'Demonio y angel' Dem-y-an."
Nominated for: "The Descendants"Award-Worthy: This is Clooney's seventh Oscar nomination. He shares an Adapted Screenplay nod this year for "The Ides of March," and won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for "Syriana" in 2005. He's received two previous Best Actor noms for the 2007's "Michael Clayton" and 2009's "Up in the Air," as well as nods for Director and Original Screenplay for "Good Night, and Good Luck."Interesting Fact: Although "The Descendants" is the first time Clooney worked with director Alexander Payne, the actor tried to be in Payne's film "Sideways," but was turned down for being too big a star. The part went to Thomas Haden Church, who scored an Oscar nod for it.Quote: On running around in boat shoes for most of "The Descendants," Clooney jokes with EW, "I'm a jock, I play basketball, so running like a goose down the street really screwed with my masculinity."
Nominated for: "The Artist"Award-Worthy: This is Dujardin's first Oscar nomination, despite receiving accolades in his native France.Interesting Fact: Although he starred in a silent film, Dujardin still had to speak his lines -- in whatever language he wanted. He told EW, "Sometimes I acted in English, sometimes French. And sometimes, I was just speaking complete gibberish."Quote: On visiting Los Angeles for the first time to shoot "The Artist," Jean said, "It was my first time as an actor and as a tourist... it's great to just drive around. And turning right on red -- oh, how I loved that!"
Nominated for: "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy"Award-Worthy: As hard as this is to believe, this is Oldman's first Oscar nomination.Interesting Fact: Oldman was surprised to find out "Tinker, Tailor" director Tomas Alfredson specifically wanted him for the role of MI6 spy, George Smiley. Gary said to EW, "It was an almost supernatural event because nowadays you are always one of five actors on the list."Quote: "One of my career ambitions was fulfilled working with ["Tinker" co-star] John Hurt. I loved his work long before I ever had the idea of being an actor, so I was nervous to meet him. I was like a fanboy, like that annoying character on 'Saturday Night Live'. I'm sitting there. 'Do you remember when you were in 'Midnight Express'? Remember that scene you were in?' And he doesn't disappoint."
Nominated for: "Moneyball"Award-Worthy: This is Pitt's third Oscar nomination. He made the Best Actor list for his turn in the 2008 film "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," and scored a Best Supporting Actor nod for 1995's "12 Monkeys."Interesting Fact: Before he became successful at acting, Pitt supported himself by driving strippers in limos, moving refrigerators and dressing as a giant chicken while working for El Pollo Loco.Quote: Pitt admitted to EW, "I'm a big sports fan, but not necessarily baseball," but said he liked the idea of "Moneyball" because, "These guys were questioning from ground zero the way we do things and tearing that apart and starting from scratch -- and then going up against a system that became quite antagonistic to that questioning. I'm a sucker for an underdog story."