Best Actor, 2005
Philip Seymour Hoffman (Capote - winner), Terrence Howard (Hustle and Flow), Heath Ledger (Brokeback Mountain), Joaquin Phoenix (Walk the Line), David Strathairn (Good Night, and Good Luck)
It's impossible to look at this year's Best Actor slate and not wonder what might have been. Hoffman and Ledger are now lost to us, and for a while it seemed like Howard and Phoenix might have been headed that way as well, though by very different paths. Here, each of them turned in top-notch work (though Hoffman and Phoenix would hurdle over that high bar together in The Master a few years later), leaving the always watchable Strathairn to play straight-man to a top-notch tortured-artist quartet.