​Oscars 2016: Take our Best Supporting Actor poll

Nominees for the Best Supporting Actor Oscar, from left: Christian Bale, "The Big Short"; Mark Rylance, "Bridge of Spies"; Tom Hardy, "The Revenant"; Sylvester Stallone, "Creed"; and Mark Ruffalo, "Spotlight."

CBS News

Which of this year's nominees for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award do you think should take home the Oscar?

Check out below the interviews and clips of each nominated performance; then, vote in our poll at the end of this article!

Christian Bale, "The Big Short"

As Michael Burry, a hedge fund manager who foresaw the 2008 housing bubble before it exploded (practically taking down the U.S. economy with it), Bale is a peripatetic jumble of nervous energy, seemingly lost in his own head and yet able to parse numbers and come up with conclusions no one else can.

It's certainly not the first real-life figure Bale has portrayed, which include crack addict Dicky Eklund in "The Fighter" (for which he won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar), and con artist Mel Weinberg in "American Hustle" (another nomination).

When asked by New York Magazine about portraying the less-than-honorable characteristics of real-life people, Bale said, "Whenever I meet with somebody I am going to portray, I always start the conversation by saying that they have to accept that there is no interesting story that glamorizes everybody. There's no character there. I went through that with Mel, and with Dicky, and with Mike as well. It's about truth as much as possible. Although of course we are taking some license because we are packing this all into a very short amount of time, but the goal is to stay as true as possible within that license.

"And you know, I don't know if I could be so trusting, if someone was telling my life story, I would feel very vulnerable. But they were all very adventurous with that idea and accepted it."

And perhaps getting so close to the truth has its benefits. When asked by the Hollywood Reporter if working on "The Big Short" inspired him to be more active in the financial markets, Bales replied, "God, no."

Watch a clip featuring Bale from "The Big Short:

Tom Hardy, "The Revenant"

One of the most mesmerizing actors working today (as seen in "Bronson," "Locke" and "Mad Max: Fury Road"), Hardy received his first Oscar nomination for his vividly brutal portrayal of John Fitzgerald, a member of a fur trapping expedition who commits murder and leaves another wounded man to die in the wilderness.

Hardy revealed to Indiewire that his character was inspired by Tom Berenger's Barnes in "Platoon," the Army Staff Sergeant officer who was prepared to slaughter a Vietnamese village. "There's a little of him in there."

20th Century Fox has stingily not released any clips that showcase Hardy's performance, but there is a featurette about the film's cast members, with high praise for Hardy, who is glimpsed throughout:

Mark Ruffalo, "Spotlight"

Ruffalo played Boston Globe journalist Michael Rezendes, part of the paper's investigative Spotlight team that dug into the cover-up by the Catholic Church of abusive priests in Boston. Ruffalo channels a reporter's zeal to right wrongs to such an extent that -- through his passion and impatience -- he threatens to up-end the entire investigation.

"It just felt so honest," Ruffalo told "CBS This Morning." "It left out the salacious part of the story and went directly to the investigation. So you're allowed to enter this world and look at this very hard story in a dispassionate way, so by the end of it, you get a real, moral certitude about where you end up."

Ruffalo shadowed Rezendes, who found himself for once being on the other end of a jounalist's inquisitiveness.

"At first it was a bit disconcerting because Mark came right into my living room," Rezendes told CBS News, "and without anything in the way of introduction, he sits down, he opens his notebook, he pulls out a pen, and he turns on his iPhone and starts asking me questions. And they were kind of personal questions, and I thought, 'Wow, this is pretty uncomfortable.' But then I thought about how many times I'd done that to other people, and I started to relax into it, and ultimately, we had a great conversation."

This is Ruffalo's third Oscar nomination, after "The Kids Are All Right" and "Foxcatcher."

Watch a clip of Ruffalo and Stanley Tucci in "Spotlight":

Mark Rylance, "Bridge of Spies"

Based on a true story, "Bridge of Spies" features Rylance as a foreign national arrested for passing secrets to the Soviet Union in the midst of the 1950s Cold War.

Rylance (a three-time Tony Award-winner) gives the film's stand-out performance in part by doing so little -- his stillness and taciturn demeanor in the face of so much hot-blooded vitriol, international brinkmanship, and a looming death sentence is riveting. There is much about the spy he plays that remains a cipher, even when the jig is up.

In an interview with the BBC, the veteran stage actor described his film experience as "a very intense period of work. I gained a lot of confidence on that shoot about my ability to register in a camera. That made a big difference."

He also did not mind the lack of rehearsals, as is usually the case in films: "Often your first instincts, and the mistakes you make, are better than what your mind is planning. You just have to throw yourself with faith into the director's hands."

Watch a clip of Ruffalo and Tom Hanks in "Bridge of Spies":

Sylvester Stallone, "Creed"

Thirty-nine years after earning two Oscars nominations for writing and starring in "Rocky," Stallone returned to the character of Rocky Balboa in "Creed."

This time he's filling the shoes of the hard-knocks trainer who helps his young protégé (Michael B. Jordan) prepare for the Big Fight. Reviving his most beloved creation has also brought him another Oscar nomination, and a Golden Globe Award.

"For somewhat of a borderline misanthrope, this is incredible," Stallone told The New York Times. "It's the pinnacle of my life, professionally. It's so miraculous."

CBS News' Lee Cowan asked Stallone, "After the Rockys and the Rambos, did you feel that you were owned a little bit by those characters?"

"Totally. Still do," he replied. "But now I look at it as a privilege."

Watch a clip of Stallone and Jordan in "Creed":

Take our poll: Who should win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor?

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Winners of this year's Academy Awards will be announced on Sunday, February 28, 2016, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood. The show will be hosted by Chris Rock.

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  • David Morgan

    David Morgan is a senior editor at CBSNews.com and cbssundaymorning.com.