A massive list of hopefuls reveals the widest-ranging acting race of the year
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Steve Coogan - "Philomena"
Pros: If Academy types really warm to this heart-tugging, crowd-pleasing dramedy – and the Weinsteins will be campaigning hard to ensure they do – Coogan, already a potential nominee for the film’s adapted screenplay, could benefit from the residual affection. Judi Dench may be the film’s focus, but Coogan has roughly as much screen time as his Best Actress-contending co-star. The British voting bloc could reward Coogan for a big 2013, which also saw him headline “Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa” (#1 at the UK box office) and “The Look of Love,” and appear in the indie “What Maisie Knew.”
Cons: Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but the performance isn’t really there: he may be playing real-life journalist Martin Sixsmith, it’s just Coogan doing his patented bumbling, priggish schtick. Unless the film goes over in a big way with voters, he’ll likely be seen as a mere enabler in The Judi Dench Show.