Morgan Freeman

"The Shawshank Redemption"

His performance as a savvy prisoner marks Freeman's third Oscar nomination. He received a best supporting nomination for 1987's "Street Smart" and a best actor nod for 1989's "Driving Miss Daisy." He also received a Golden Globe nomination.


Tom Hanks

"Forrest Gump"

Hanks, who was voted best actor last year for "Philadelphia," has a chance to win back-to-back Oscars for his work in the $300-million box-office phenomenon. His Gump turn won him the Golden Globe. His previous Oscar nomination: 1988's "Big."


Nigel Hawthorne

"The Madness of King George"

Hawthorne, best known for his work in British theater, receives his first Oscar nomination re-creating his stage triumph as the British monarch who suffered from a mysterious madness. Hawthorne received a 1991 Tony Award for his role as C.S. Lewis in "Shadowlands."


Paul Newman

"Nobody's Fool"

For his performance as a 60-year-old scamp, the veteran received best actor awards from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Society of Film Critics. He also was a Golden Globe nominee. He won best actor for his seventh nomination, 1986's "The Color of Money."


John Travolta

"Pulp Fiction"

The comeback kid, Travolta was the L.A. Film Critics' best actor for his performance as a heroin-addicted hit man. Travolta, who came to fame 20 years ago on TV's "Welcome Back, Kotter," was a best actor nominee for 1977's "Saturday Night Fever."

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