Best supporting actor nominees

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Matt Damon
"Invictus"

Damon got along so well with Francois Pienaar, the real-life rugby player he incarnates in the film, that the duo participated in a 105km bike ride for charity on the Sunday before Damon's first day of shooting. Damon flew in his brother from the U.S. to join him on a tandem bike. But "every two kilometers, the chain would break and they needed a mechanic to fix it," recalls one insider. "Matt insisted on finishing the race. It took him eight hours! The next day you'd never have known he had just been in an eight-hour marathon."

Woody Harrelson

"The Messenger"

"We were shooting the scene where Woody and Ben Foster's characters are in a car, driving to the engagement party," producer Mark Gordon says. "All of a sudden, Woody starts singing 'Home on the Range.' It was totally unscripted and unplanned. Then Ben starts singing it. It was a wonderful bonding moment between them. It epitomized where their characters' relationship had gotten to, having gone through
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everything together." There was also an added bonus to Harrelson improvising that tune: "We ended up getting Willie Nelson to record the song at the end of the movie," Gordon adds.

Christopher Plummer
"The Last Station"

"His process made me laugh," filmmaker Michael Hoffman says. "If we did a take and I'd say, 'OK, let's try it this way,' he'd look at me for a long time and say: 'Hmm. Do you think an audience would like that?' There would be this charade of resistance. Then he'd come back, take the note which he seemed to be resisting, and completely translate it into gold. It'd be everything I'd hoped for and then some."

Stanley Tucci
"The Lovely Bones"

In playing the film's creepy killer, Tucci was able to shake off his character at the end of each day thanks to a complete makeover that included false teeth, contact lenses, added girth, a mustache and lightened skin. To further give the feeling that the character was living in his own twisted world, director Peter Jackson sometimes used a lipstick camera to shoot the killer's point of view. The device, no bigger than a matchbox, was a subtle way of showing just how narrow his point if view really was.

Christoph Waltz
"Inglourious Basterds"

At the very first table read, Quentin Tarantino wanted to keep the character of Col. Hans Landa a mystery from the other cast members. "He asked Christoph to read it flat and only give 10%," says producer Lawrence Bender. That way, when the real Landa came to life during production, the others would truly feel the terror. Tarantino also instructed Waltz to not socialize with the cast when shooting began in October. It wasn't until Thanksgiving that Waltz finally joined the other actors on a night out. "We all got drunk together!" says co-star Eli Roth.
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