Thursday, August 18, 2016

Emmy Predictions 2016 - Who Will Likely Win for Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie?

The nominations are in for The 68th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The final round of voting is now taking place. So now, it's time to speculate on who is likely to win in each major category. First up for analysis is Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.

The Nominees:
  • Sterling K. Brown for FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story - Episode: "Manna from Heaven"
  • Hugh Laurie for AMC's The Night Manager - Episode: "Episode 5"
  • Jesse Plemons for FX's Fargo - Episode: "Loplop"
  • David Schwimmer for FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story - Episode: "Conspiracy Theories"
  • John Travolta for FX's The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story - Episode: "100% Not Guilty"
  • Bokeem Woodbine for FX's Fargo - Episode "Palindrome"

There has always been dual theories about Emmy categories that nominate one than more person from a given show. On one hand, it forces the voters to split their votes. It becomes that much more difficult for a consensus to rally around one specific performer. On the other hand, the episode submissions mean that each nominee gets more than one to show the voters who look solely at the tapes. As long as the nominees don't select the same episode, that means they'll get much more screen time than the rest of the field - as long as they are prominent parts of the series. The People v. O.J. Simpson and Fargo both have multiple nominees in this category. It shows just how impressive both of those shows were. Plus, it's clear that the voters actually watched them too. Bokeem Woodbine and Sterling K. Brown got in due to the quality of their performances and not the familiarity of their names - like John Travolta, David Schwimmer and Hugh Laurie.

In all honesty, this should be a race between Woodbine and Brown because they gave the best performances in this field of contenders. They are wildly different performances too. Woodbine had a wild, unpredictable and fun energy as Mike Mulligan while Brown had to be more contained, reserved and calculating as Chris Darden. Completely different characters but roles that stood out in some phenomenal ways throughout their respective shows. They have each submitted strong episodes as well. Woodbine has opted for the season finale where Mike realizes that his promotion in the criminal syndicate isn't as great as he always envisioned. Brown chose the penultimate episode of the season where Chris was taken aback by the Fuhrmann tapes and wondering if the prosecution should aim for a mistrial. Both are strong submissions. And yet, both are also greatly helped by co-stars being nominated as well. In that respect, Brown would probably have the edge for a victory. He has a big role in both Schwimmer and Travolta's submissions - including the episode where Chris asks O.J. to put on the glove. It's surprising that that moment wasn't what Brown ultimately opted for but the voters will still get to see it if they look at the individual episodes. Woodbine has a significant role in Jesse Plemons' episode of Fargo as well though it's much more a showcase for Plemons than it is for Woodbine.

Of course, all of this is just speculation over who should win based on performances. That's what these awards should be about. But they are very rarely actually about that. Most of the time outside factors influence the races. So the name appeal of someone like John Travolta doing TV could be enough to send him to victory. That's probably unlikely due to the divisiveness of his performance as Robert Shapiro. But it could still theoretically happen. That seems like less of a possibility with Schwimmer though. While a great performance, it's largely about reacting to just how crazy everything in the case was. It wasn't a big and expressive performance. Voters love going for the histrionics. And that could really help the Fargo guys as well. Plemons delivered a strong performance too and is quite good in his episode - where he is forced on the run by Peggy after she kidnaps Dodd. He's pulled into a dangerous, criminal world that he doesn't know how to handle at all. That journey was so compelling and tragic. Plus, we can't just dismiss Laurie from this race either. He stands out as the only actor from a different show. That could be a nice change of pace for voters. Of course, it seems unlikely he'll prevail given how many nominations The People v. O.J. Simpson and Fargo received. But he's still a name that voters really respect and adore - even though he has never won an Emmy.

Should Win: Bokeem Woodbine or Sterling K. Brown
Will Win: Sterling K. Brown
Dark Horse: Jesse Plemons