Doctors save lives. Teachers prepare young minds for the future. Firefighters risk their very existence to help others. But in the midst of all of this, there is also a dedicated band of stars including Hollywood A-listers such as Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch who are also busy doing their bit.

And now, as Oscars season rolls around once more, this week Friday celebrates the good work some of these superstars do in making a difference...

Benedict Cumberbatch

Nominated for Best actor in The Imitation Game.

Also known for His role in the Sherlock series that won him fans globally, as did performances as Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate and an alien in Star Trek Into Darkness.

How he makes a difference How doesn’t he make a difference might be an easier question. He’s an ambassador for The Prince’s Trust, a charity set up by Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, to help the disadvantaged.

About that he once said “I’ve been incredibly fortunate over the years. I always knew that I wanted to work as an actor and have been extremely lucky to get where I am today. It hasn’t been without hard work and determination, but a key ingredient to anyone’s self-confidence and personal success, is the support and guidance that comes from having a role model.”

He’s also a patron for Dramatic Needs, which sends professional musicians, artists and actors to host workshops in rural Africa; and a representative for the Motor Neurone Disease Association. He’s also a dedicated fighter of cancer. He said at a fundraising gala at Windsor Castle last year: “Cancer isn’t a disease that needs much awareness, but it does need continued funding for research”.

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And one more thing He’s donated his own artwork to charities including the Willow Foundation.

Keira Knightley

Nominated for Best supporting actress for The Imitation Game.

Also known for Pirates of the Caribbean and Love Actually.

How she makes a difference Human rights, raising Aids awareness, access to water? Knightley, 29, has had a crack at helping with them all.

In 2004 she visited Aids victims in Ethiopia on behalf of Comic Relief, working with the Irish charity GOAL while there. “It is a wonderful organisation that has helped better the lives of millions of vulnerable people,” she noted. During the trip she visited Addis Ababa’s shelters for homeless children, and saw how orphans were now working as chefs, factory workers and carpenters. Famously, the Bend It Like Beckham star had a game of street soccer while there.

She is also the face of the Amnesty International campaign to support human rights – something she’s been involved with ever since she starred in a short film called Protect The Human, in 2008.

“I wanted to be part of this film to help raise awareness of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” she said. “And to help them, in a small way, to campaign against the abuses of human rights that are still happening every day.”

As if that’s not enough, she’s appeared in other short films and photo shoots for organisations including WaterAid and International Women’s Day.

And one more thing In 2006, Knightley donated the dress she wore to the 2006 Academy Awards to UK charity Oxfam. It raised £4,300 (Dh24,300) at auction.

Julianne Moore

Nominated for Best actress in Still Alice.

Also known for Being a five-time Oscar nominee. Flame-haired Moore has appeared in major films including The Kids Are Alright, Hannibal and Boogie Nights. She’s also written a successful series of children’s books.

How she makes a difference She’s an ambassador for the global charity Save The Children, which reaches more than 70,000 kids a year in the US alone.

“When people say, ‘How did you become involved? Is it what you see as a mother?’” the 54-year-old previously said. “I’m like, no, it’s what I saw as a child.” She was the daughter of a US Army military judge, which meant moving around the country a lot.

“Everybody should have the same opportunity. 
But the problem, obviously, is that there is not always enough money.

“It’s not that I don’t believe there are many, many needy causes all over the world, particularly in the third world, but I do believe in terms of poverty in our country, often, people hide in plain sight. Because we have so much in the United States, there’s sometimes a refusal to acknowledge what’s going on right here.”

Her work with the charity – which was established in the UK in 1919 – has included publicity campaigns, launching Literacy Block (a scheme that funded supported activities to help children learn to read) and releasing a fundraising Valentine’s Day card set.

And one more thing Her Oscar-nominated role in Still Alice – in which she plays a woman suffering early-onset dementia – has also been praised by 
an influential charity. 
The Alzheimer’s Society said her performance has helped take the stigma away from the illness.

Eddie Redmayne

Nominated for Best actor in The Theory of Everything.

Also known for His performances in My Week With Marilyn and Les Misérables, which have made him – a one-time classmate of Prince William – one of Hollywood’s most bankable assets. For good measure he’s also a Cambridge University graduate.

How he makes a difference Eddie never seems to say no to a call from charity. No sooner had he won his BAFTA award for his role in The Theory of Everything this month than it was announced he would be hosting a Hollywood lunch to raise funds for 7,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities.

He has also become one of the patrons for the Motor Neurone Disease Association after playing Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything.

He said: “For the past year and a half [I’ve been] working with people who suffer from motor neurone disease. This disease has been around for over a hundred years or longer, and we’re not any closer to finding a cure. The fact is [the Ice Bucket Challenge] brought attention to the disease. I hope The Theory of Everything will act similarly.

“The other charity I’ve been working with is the Teenage Cancer Trust in London. For years, I’ve been going to the wards and meeting young people. I feel really privileged in that sense.”

Redmayne has also previously joined Andy Murray, Boris Johnson and Sir Richard Branson for a Rally Against Cancer charity game that raised money for The Royal Marsden Cancer Charity in London.

And one more thing When Eddie took part in that tennis match in 2013, Twitter almost exploded. Sports fans were keen to praise his racket skills – although others (generally female) were happy simply to praise his legs. Significantly, it meant Rally Against Cancer started trending on the micro-blogging site, resulting in greater awareness.

Job done.