In profile: 2014 Oscar winners

A look at the best supporting actor winner and his fellow nominees for the 86th Academy Awards.

WINNER: JARED LETO

Jared Leto in Dallas Buyers Club

Age: 42

Nominated for: Dallas Buyers Club

The character: Rayon, a transgender woman with Aids, who teams up with Ron Woodroof (Matthew McConaughey) to import unapproved HIV drugs to the US.

Oscar record: Leto has multiple MTV Awards for his band 30 Seconds To Mars, but this is his first Oscar nomination.

The critics said: "Leto is simply wonderful. Fully inhabiting Rayon, he makes the slender creature anything but synthetic, his flirtatious banter poignantly underscored by helpless self-destructiveness." David Rooney, Hollywood Reporter.

BARKHAD ABDI

Barkhad Abdi in Captain Phillips

Age: 28

Nominated for: Captain Phillips

The character: Abduwali Muse, a Somali pirate leader who takes mariner Captain Richard Phillips hostage.

Oscar record: Captain Phillips is Abdi's first film. The son of a teacher, he fled Somalia's civil war aged seven and was working as a chauffeur when he was cast by director Paul Greengrass.

The critics said: "The extraordinary Abdi, a Mogadishu émigré living in Minneapolis, had never acted before. Yet he crushes his scenes with Hanks, his skinny bravado a force to reckon with." Peter Travers, Rolling Stone

BRADLEY COOPER

Bradley Cooper in American Hustle

Age: 39

Nominated for: American Hustle

The character: Richie DiMaso, a single-minded FBI agent with a tight perm, who enlists the help of two con artists to bring down corrupt government officials in New Jersey.

Oscar record: One best actor nomination, for his portrayal of bi-polar schoolteacher Pat Solitano in 2012's Silver Linings Playbook.

The critics said: "That Cooper can keep a straight face with all the hair and beard and wardrobe stuff going on is a testament to his thespian chops. On top of that, he brings a storm of angst and ambition to the table." Steven Rea, Philadelhpia Inquirer.

MICHAEL FASSBENDER

Michael Fassbender in 12 Years a Slave

Age: 36

Nominated for: 12 Years a Slave

The character: Edwin Epps, a sadistic plantation owner who struggles to reconcile racism with his feelings towards his female slave, Patsey.

Oscar record: None

The critics said: "Fassbender is brilliant in the part. Violence is always only a hair's breadth away, but his belief in his authority results in an eccentricity at times so delicate as to be even more terrifying than the temper... He goes straight from strangling a woman to softly cuddling a terrified friend." Paul MacInnes, The Guardian.

JONAH HILL

Jonah Hill in Wolf of Wall Street

Age: 30

Nominated for: The Wolf of Wall Street

The character: Donnie Azoff, a despicable, drug-addled trader who helps Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) influence the stock market.

Oscar record: One nomination, for best supporting actor, in Brad Pitt baseball movie Moneyball.

The critics said: "Jonah Hill [is] Belfort's sidekick Donnie Azoff, a hedonistic putz with bizarre white teeth who gets some of the biggest and broadest laughs without ever straying into caricature." Damon Wise, Empire magazine.

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