Grant Heslov

Oscars 2014: Producers discuss the key scenes for acting nominees

Pinning down the "best" scene of any Oscar-nominated performance is something of a Stygian nightmare for producers because — as they correctly protest — if an actor or actress has been nominated, they have far more than one great scene. But when ballots are being ticked off by academy voters later this month, most of them will have a single, crystallizing, moment held in their memory that helps them choose one performance over another. Here, then, are 10 of those great, possibly award-winning, moments:

Christian Bale / "American Hustle"

The setup: To avoid jail time, two low-level con artists are enlisted by an FBI agent to...