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This year’s Emmy talk, more than any in recent memory, has been dominated by the level of quality in the TV Movie and Limited Series categories. The wealth of formidable contenders, most especially in the performance categories, is going to prove a brutal fight come nomination morning. In some categories there will be as many excellent performances snubbed as there are nominated. We could see The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story absolutely dominate the Supporting Actor category – there are four legitimate actors from the FX mini that could get in (Sterling K. Brown, John Travolta, Nathan Lane, David Schwimmer).
Right now we’re going to look at the Lead Actor and Actress categories which may seem, based on the predictions, to have 5/6 nominees pretty locked. But, things are a little more fluid than they seem.
Pretty much anyone would agree that Emmy winner and Oscar nominee Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad, Trumbo) is a lock for his LBJ film All the Way. Same goes for Courtney B. Vance in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story. Then you have Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba, reprising their Emmy-nominated roles in Sherlock and Luther films. So that’s ostensibly four of the six nominees. As the sole male lead, Patrick Wilson should be a safe bet for Fargo‘s 2nd season. Oscar Isaac, despite being predicted by all five Emmy Experts, feels like he’s the most vulnerable. So, if not Isaac, who? Well, FX decided to run The People v. O.J.‘s Cuba Gooding Jr. in Lead against Vance, which seems like a risky idea but considering how many actors they’re pushing in Supporting it makes sense. I mean, why wouldn’t the titular character of the year’s biggest limited series make it in? That probably puts Elba and Isaac at the most risk, Isaac more so since HBO already has a lock in Cranston. Then again, maybe the Emmys are over Cumberbatch and we’re simply name-checking him too easily. You’ll notice that Emmy Expert Nicole has opted for Ian McKellen in The Dresser over Elba but McKellen should be considered in Supporting there. It’s Anthony Hopkins that will be competing in Lead and who could end up spoiling.
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Lead Actress is even more seemingly closed up than Lead Actor with just a single difference in the lineups of the five Emmy Experts. That one is me. While Fred, Chris, Nicole and Jonathan are all predicting Oscar nominee Rachel McAdams (Spotlight) to get in for True Detective‘s disastrously received 2nd season, I’m seeing American Crime‘s Lili Taylor join co-lead Felicity Huffman here. Before category submissions were revealed it seemed like Taylor would have been a very easy choice in Supporting (and a very likely win) but when it was announced she’d be pushed in Lead there was definitely pause; enough for the majority to ditch a prediction for her. There was also early word that American Horror Story: Hotel‘s Kathy Bates (an Emmy winner for American Horror Story: Coven) was going to be submitted in Lead but ended up in Supporting. Had that been the case I would have Bates in over Taylor (a previous Emmy nominee for Six Feet Under and The X-Files) right now.
Then there’s Golden Globe winner in this category, Lady Gaga from American Horror Story: Hotel. While most see her as a longshot with the snobbier Television Academy, the did just nominate Grace of Monaco (although not Nicole Kidman) last year so their standards aren’t as high as their desire for A-list celebrity attendance.