One category has had a pattern so easy to follow that if you were paying attention it was easy to predict—Best Drama Actor. Let’s take a look at the past nine winners in this category:
- Kyle Chandler (Friday Night Lights) 2011—final season
- Damian Lewis (Homeland) 2012— first season
- Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom) 2013—first season****
- Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) 2014—final season
- Jon Hamm (Mad Men) 2015—final season
- Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) 2016—first season
- Sterling K. Brown (This Is Us) 2017—first season
- Matthew Rhys (The Americans) 2018—final season
- Billy Porter (Pose) 2019- first season
The 2020 nominees are Jason Bateman for Ozark’s third season, Sterling K. Brown for the fourth season of This Is Us, reigning champ Porter for Pose’s second season, onscreen father and son Brian Cox and Jeremy Strong for Succession’s second season and Steve Carell for the first season of The Morning Show. If the trend should continue this would make Carell the winner.
Carell shocked everyone when he received an Emmy nomination for Best Drama Actor for his work on The Morning Show. He is the only nominee in the category nominated for either his first or last season. But if you look closer each at the winners they have more than just first/last in common. ****With the exception of Jeff Daniels’ win in 2013, each of the actor’s series were either nominated or won Best Drama Series. It’s important to remember that since 2017 with the exception of The Handmaid’s Tale last year if you want to win an Emmy your series has to be nominated, and in that case the show couldn’t be nominated for the top award due to the rules of hanging episodes. Had The Morning Show reaped a Best Drama Series nomination, Carell would be the obvious favorite to win.
But, since Carell only halfway meets the trend. What happens now? For, Brown and Porter both of their respective series were also snubbed. For arguments sake let’s say that cancels them out.
This leaves three nominees for Carell to worry about: Bateman, Cox and Strong. Bateman is a past SAG winner (2019) and is also nominated for Best Drama Guest Actor (The Outsider). After finally winning his first Emmy for Best Drama Directing last year will he finally win for acting? Probably not, Ozark may have been better than ever but season three belonged to Laura Linney.
Cox plays Logan Roy the patriarch of the Roy family and President/CEO of the family business. Cox got off to an impressive start this awards season picking up the Golden Globe for Best Drama TV Actor. He’s a past Emmy winner for Best Miniseries/TV Movie Supporting Actor for Nuremberg (2000). But Logan is not a likeable character in his submission “Hunting” his management team is less than thrilled about his plans to acquire another company. Once he smells treachery the episode ends with a humiliating game of boar on the floor.
Then there is his onscreen-son Kendall played by Strong. Strong has proven to be popular amongst the critics winning the Critic’s Choice Award and receiving a TCA Award nomination. Strong, submitted the season finale “This Is Not For Tears” in which his character is offered up as a sacrificial lamb. But instead of falling on his sword he throws his father under the bus in an explosive end of season monologue. Strong will follow Jodie Comer’s path to victory. Comer was the standout of season two of Killing Eve receiving a TCA nomination and winning the BAFTA TV Award and was able to overcome her more well-known costar Sandra Oh after she has won the Golden Globe and SAG Award. Sound familiar? Strong was well…. stronger than Cox.
Should Carell pull off a victory it would be a bittersweet moment as he racked up six consecutive Best Comedy Actor nominations for The Office (2005-2011) without a win. Will the seventh time prove lucky?
My Ranked Predictions for Best Drama Actor:
- Jeremy Strong, Succession
- Steve Carell, The Morning Show
- Brian Cox, Succession
- Jason Bateman, Ozark
- Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
- Billy Porter, Pose