Monday, August 28, 2017

Emmy Predictions 2017 - Who Will Likely Win for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series?

The nominations are in for The 69th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. The final round of voting is happening now. So, it's time to speculate on who is likely to win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

The Nominees:
  • Jonathan Banks for AMC's Better Call Saul - "Witness"
  • David Harbour for Netflix's Stranger Things - "Chapter Eight: The Upside Down"
  • Ron Cephas Jones for NBC's This Is Us - "Memphis"
  • Michael Kelly for Netflix's House of Cards - "Chapter 64"
  • John Lithgow for Netflix's The Crown - "Assassins"
  • Mandy Patinkin for Showtime's Homeland - "America First"
  • Jeffrey Wright for HBO's Westworld - "The Well-Tempered Clavier"

For a long time, the race for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series was unpredictable because it crowned a new winner every year. And yet, Aaron Paul and Peter Dinklage have been defining forces in this category over the last few years. They've gone back-and-forth for victory. And then, Ben Mendelsohn won last year. But now, Peter Dinklage is out of the race for the year while Mendelsohn has moved to the guest acting category. So, a new winner is bound to be crowned in this category this year. That's very exciting. With seven nominees, the voters could go in any number of directions. They could favor the nominee with the best episode submission. They could go for the actor with the best track record at the Emmys. Or they could split their votes because they couldn't decide and someone unpredictable emerges victorious.

When The Crown debuted on Netflix, it immediately became an Emmy magnet show. It's the type of drama that the Emmys just love. It fills the Downton Abbey holes on the ballot. Furthermore, John Lithgow was playing Winston Churchill. That historical figure has been the focus of so many stories over the years with many actors stepping in to play him. Lithgow had such an intriguing take on the character. It was a fascinating story that was also just impressive to watch from an acting standpoint. But more importantly, Lithgow has won at the Emmys for both comedy (3rd Rock From the Sun) and drama (Dexter). The voters clearly love him and he's in a show that is practically Emmy bait. So, it has always seemed like he's the frontrunner in this race.

The biggest potential spoiler for the trophy is more than likely Ron Cephas Jones. That was a completely unexpected performance this year. Broadcast network television has been trending down over the years in terms of Emmy nominations - especially in the drama categories. And yet, This Is Us changed that. It got a number of its actors nominated. Many of them were first time nominees. That includes Jones. And yet, it's a fantastic performance. Jones was one of the best performers on the show in its first year. His story was absolutely tragic but so beautiful as well. Plus, his episode is the one where his character goes on a road trip before he dies. It's an hour of just him and Sterling K. Brown. It's easily the best episode from the first season. It should be a winning episode for him. It's just unclear if the voters will recognize a first-time nominee in this category given the competition.

The rest of the field can't be discounted either. Every year Jonathan Banks delivers a deserving performance on Better Call Saul. It's not a big, showy role. But he's tremendous. He should win one of these years. Michael Kelly and Mandy Patinkin are the more veteran nominees in this category. They have never won for their respective shows. If it hasn't happened by now, it seems unlikely that this year will change it. And finally, David Harbour and Jeffrey Wright are the newcomers from the big, new shows at the Emmys. Both Westworld and Stranger Things got a ton of nominations. Both performers are the glue that hold their respective shows together as well. Wright's performance is very intricate and subtle. It rewards the viewer the more one pays attention to it. Meanwhile, Harbour was sturdy as the police detective investigating an incredible story and needing to follow it wherever it went. His submission is strong because of how climatic the story and his role in it are. So everyone could have a viable shot in this field.

Should Win: Ron Cephas Jones
Will Win: John Lithgow
Dark Horse: Jeffrey Wright