1. JEFF DANIELS, "The Squid and the Whale." Pitch-perfect as a vain, self-absorbed novelist.
2. DANIEL DAY-LEWIS, "The Ballad of Jack and Rose." The last angry gasp of a '60s radical.
3. PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN, "Capote." The artist as Judas.
4. HEATH LEDGER, "Brokeback Mountain." A career-changing change of pace as a gay cowboy.
5. DAVID STRATHAIRN, "Good Night, and Good Luck." Channeling Edward R. Murrow's fierce integrity.