By Mark Pinkert
One of the most popular Oscar hopefuls this year is Bruce Dern, who has gotten a lot of love from critics and from his peers for a great performance in Alexander Payne’s Nebraska. But, other than the role itself, what has made his story so special is that he’s had an extremely prolific film career–mostly as a supporting actor–and is finally getting Oscar recognition for the first time at the age of 77. (Dern did get nominated for Best Supporting Actor thirty-five years ago for Coming Home (1978).) Even getting a nomination, though, will be an uphill battle, as he’s in a tight race with the likes of Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Matthew McConaughey.