Ed Harris received his first Oscar nomination for portraying Gene Kranz in Apollo 13.
Ed Harris portrays the NASA flight director who must deal with the situation of the men in space. As I said in my review of Tommy Lee Jones in the Fugitive, Ed Harris here is merely the man in charge no more no less. He comes in intent on getting the men home by being resilient, and keeping a firm grasp on the situation. Ed Harris is not a dominating force in the film by any margin though, and he really is just there to basically react to each crisis by telling another team to get to it.
There really is not anything particularly special about Harris's portrayal of Kranz it is about as it should be. When he problem happens he acts as he is frustrated, if they need to fix the problem he reacts with determination. The only time there really is anything more required of him is at the very end of the film when they are waiting to see if the man on the space ship survived. He shows the nervousness, sadness, and eventually the happiness of his moment well enough, but nothing that is in any way amazing.
There really are not any scenes where Harris acts in any fashion other than merely what one would expect from the role no more no less. It is a standard performance that really any actor who is the same type as Harris could have played just as well. There is not a single scene where he stands out, or rises above the rest of the cast in a fashion that would make one believe he had to be recognized for this performance. It is not a bad performance, but it just isn't a special one either.