Oscar 2009: Best Actor Contenders

Even the cynical and harsh critics will have to admit that 2009 was a very good year for American movies in general, and American actors (women included) in particular. Here is my list (in alphabetical order) of American actors who excelled in a lead role this year. The list excludes foreign male actors, and actors whose voices were used in animated features.
Half of these men have not been nominated before, and it' shocking to realize that Christopher Plummer belongs to that group.
Jeff Bridges, Crazy Heart
George Clooney, Up in the Air
Matt Damon, The Informant!
Daniel Day-Lewis, Nine
Colin Firth, Single Man
Morgan Freeman, Invictus
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, 500 Days of Summer
Viggo Mortensen, The Road
Jeremy Penner, The Hurt Locker
Christopher Plummer, The Last Station
Peter Sarsgaard, An Education
Michael Stuhlberg, A Simple Man