With 'The Avengers' on the way, we look at the best portrayals of the subgenre
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2. Paul Giamatti, "American Splendor" (2003)
Paul Giamatti couldn't get arrested for a while when it came to Oscar nominations. And it started in 2003 with a wonderful, lived-in performance as comic writer Harvey Pekar in "American Splendor" that both played to his strengths and gave him the opportunity to stretch. A year later, no nod for "Sideways," until finally, in 2005, some scraps from the table in the form of a supporting nod for "Cinderella Man." But in here, Giamatti was firing on all cylinders, paying touching homage but also very much making the character his own. He got his share of attention on the circuit, though, and left us with a very memorable piece of work.