Could a 'Basterd,' a 'Trek' doctor, a 'Goat' and 'Orson Welles' find Oscar?
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Timonthy Spall, "The Damned United"
Previous nominations or wins: None
Pros: As historical figure Pete Taylor, Spall has to stand up to and withstand the charismatic ramblings of iconic English football coach Brian Clough (played by Michael Sheen). Not only does he do so with flying color, but the celebrated actor makes Taylor just as three-dimensional and even more sympathetic than Clough.
Cons: Even in limited release "United" has done poorly and if Sony Classics doesn't push it strongly, both Sheen and Spail's work could easily be forgotten.