M. Emmet Walsh did not receive an Oscar nomination for portraying Richard in Clean and Sober.
Walsh's Richard appears in the main story as a man who offers his services as a sponsor to the hesitant addict Daryl (Michael Keaton). I love the whole presence that Walsh brings his scenes that are actually essential to make it convincing that Keaton's Daryl could beat his addiction. Walsh's approach is remarkable in the very specific way he handles these scenes. He has this interesting way of offering this certain intensity in all of the scenes, as he delivers his lines towards Keaton with a definite incisiveness. His eyes pierce towards him with a real examination of the man as though he is trying to decipher him but Walsh never makes that all Richard is doing. His intensity he fashions always carries this real warmth. In every word there is this definite care and tenderness to it even when speaking harsh truths to him. In his eyes there is a strict empathy that Walsh brings that creates Richard as a man who is there to always help Daryl, through this rather forceful support. It's a moving performance because of how genuine every moment of the work is through Walsh, and he gives a real honesty to a role in the wrong hands could have seemed just a one dimensional plot mechanism. Walsh, as typical for him even if his role is only a minute long, gives a real life to the role that fulfills his purpose so well yet develops him far beyond that purpose. It's terrific work from him, and as usual I only wish we had gotten more of him as it would have probably resulted in a stronger film overall.