Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series Or Movie threw a lot of us for a loop when nominations came out. Would Paul Bettany get in for WandaVision or Uncle Frank? How much will they love Hamilton? Is Halston just a below the line contender or can Ewan McGregor play gay once again and forge an awards path? That’s to say nothing about who didn’t get in, like Joel Edgerton in The Underground Railroad, Ethan Hawke in The Good Lord Bird or an Emmy favorite like Jeff Daniels in The Comey Rule or Bryan Cranston in Your Honor.
But instead of lamenting those that didn’t, let’s take a look at the five men who did.
Paul Bettany pulled a neat little hat trick as he had two performances vying for a nomination: as Vision in Marvel’s WandaVision and as Frank in Amazon’s Uncle Frank, playing the gay uncle to his teen niece in 1970s South Carolina. While WandaVision was the bigger property, Uncle Frank, on the surface, was the more ‘dramatic’ role. But Bettany turned out one of the year’s most empathetic performances as Vision, transcending the artifice of the show within a show conceit and later once it drops that. WandaVision is the most-nominated limited series (23) so he’s a very real contender.
If you believe in vote-splitting (and why would you, it’s not real) then the chances for Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom, Jr. would be less than their co-nominees. But voters went in deep for Hamilton, giving it an astonishing seven acting nominations so the love for it is real. But, for argument’s sake, who fares better here, the creator of the show itself or the one that bested him for the Tony? Odom, Jr., already a Grammy and Tony winner, is also just coming off two Oscar nominations for One Night in Miami. That could help him just a bit.
Ewan McGregor is on his fourth Emmy nomination, this time playing legendary fashion designer Halston in the Ryan Murphy limited series for Netflix, which earned five nominations overall. His reviews were better than for the show itself but still modest. Not as successful as last year’s Hollywood (McGregor is the only acting nominee from Halston), he’ll probably have to fight for this win.
This is Hugh Grant’s second nomination in this category, he was previously nominated for 2019’s A Very English Scandal. While The Undoing was a huge hit for HBO last fall and renewed the public’s interest in a weekly watercooler series, it was usurped by the network’s own Mare of Easttown last spring. That series scored 15 Emmy nominations versus The Undoing coming in with a paltry two. When powerhouses like Nicole Kidman and Donald Sutherland, both previous Emmy winners, fail to make the cut, it’s hard to make a case for Grant. Although, it didn’t hurt last year’s winner Mark Ruffalo, the only nomination for his show.
I see this as a three-way race between Bettany, McGregor and Odom, Jr. While Bettany and Odom, Jr. are in the stronger shows/movies, McGregor’s is a baity role that could pay off.
Here are my ranked predictions for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series Or Movie.
- Paul Bettany – WandaVision (Disney+)
- Leslie Odom Jr. – Hamilton (Disney+)
- Ewan McGregor – Halston (Netflix)
- Lin-Manuel Miranda – Hamilton (Disney+)
- Hugh Grant – The Undoing (HBO)