2012 Oscar nominee Demian Bichir is making the most of his heightened profile.

The Mexican actor, who received a Best Actor nod this year for his performance in director Chris Weitz's "A Better Life", has signed on for two new projects: Robert Rodriguez's "Machete Kills", the sequel to the 2010 exploitation throwback "Machete"; and an independent thriller entitled "Trapped" being directed by William Friedkin ("Killer Joe", "The Exorcist"). In the former he joins returning star Danny Trejo as well as Michelle Rodriguez, who signed on to reprise her role just yesterday. Bichir's part in the film is unclear at this point, though he'll begin shooting early next month.

In "Trapped", meanwhile, Bichir will play an "Israeli operative", according to story-breaker Variety. The film is slated to enter production early next year.

Bichir will next be seen in the star-studded Oliver Stone thriller "Savages" opposite Taylor Kitsch, Aaron Johnson, Blake Lively, Uma Thurman, Salma Hayek, Emile Hirsch, John Travolta and Benicio del Toro (phew!).

Another interesting tidbit in the Variety article is the revelation that Bichir actually turned down an opportunity to play the main villain in J.J. Abrams upcoming "Star Trek" sequel (the part eventually went to "Sherlock" star Benedict Cumberbatch), thanks to a commitment he previously made to star in a Mexican stageplay written by his brother, fellow actor Bruno Bichir. Now that's what we call family values.

Are you a fan of Bichir's work? Glad he's finally getting more recognition? Let us know in the comments!