Even in supporting roles, Ben Foster has been hard to ignore, cornering the market on crazy-intense parts such as the manic addict in 'Alpha Dog.' He scored some (unrealized) Oscar buzz for his role as Charlie Prince, the dandified but dangerous cowboy in '3:10 to Yuma.'

While his character's snakeskin jacket was memorable, the actor's ability to draw focus from such intimidating leads as Russell Crowe and Christian Bale was the real showstopper. In otherwise forgettable films like 'Hostage,' and '30 Days of Night,' Foster's few scenes seem to come from a different (and far better) movie altogether.

Now the 29-year-old steps into the well-earned spotlight in a much less showy but just as riveting role, that of Staff Sergeant Will Montgomery in the indie drama 'The Messenger.' Will returns home from a devastating tour in Iraq and is assigned the task of notifying next of kin that their loved ones have been killed in the line of duty. He's partnered with a senior officer (Woody Harrelson) who's an old hand at this thankless duty.
categories Hot Topic, Oscars