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Paul Schneider, "Bright Star"
Previous nominations or wins: None
Pros: An actor with impeccable prestige and indie credentials ("Lars and the Real Girl, "Assassination of Jesse James," "All the Real Girls") Schneider has the difficult task of playing Charles Armitage Brown, poet John Keats unlikeable and over-protective best friend. Schneider pulls out not just an impressive English accent, but portrays Brown's genuine concern for the sickly Keats.
Cons: "Star" is really a showcase for co-stars Abbie Cornish and Ben Whishaw. He may get overlooked, especially since the film was released so early during awards season.