Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Emmy Predictions 2019 - Who Will and Should Win for Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie?

The nominations have been announced for The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. So now, it's time to speculate on who will and should win in each major category. Next up for analysis is Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.

The Nominees Ranked By Which Should Win:
  1. Jharrel Jerome for Netflix's When They See Us
  2. Hugh Grant for Amazon's A Very English Scandal
  3. Mahershala Ali for HBO's True Detective
  4. Sam Rockwell for FX's Fosse/Verdon
  5. Benicio del Toro for Showtime's Escape at Dannemora
  6. Jared Harris for HBO's Chernobyl

Any of these nominees would arguably be deserving of victory. In any other year, they would all be seen as frontrunners based on the performances they gave in some truly unique shows. This was a breakout role for Jharrel Jerome. When They See Us wasn't his first foray into acting but it was such a searing and impressive entry for a bright, young performer who just absolutely devastated the audience with such a commanding and towering performance. The conclusion of that limited series pivoted around the pain and loss that he brought to the role. But again, everyone did such stellar work this year. I could easily sing the praises of all of the nominees here. It was absolutely delightful to see Hugh Grant in a more villainous role playing a politician whose career ambitions meant he was more than capable of sinking to some truly sinister lows to make it happen. Mahershala Ali brought all of the complexities necessary to showcase a man and his mind across three separate and unique points in his life. The power of prosthetics did some heavy lifting for him but the connective tissue of all that can be lost in a life was all there with Ali's face. Meanwhile, Sam Rockwell did such an incredible job in bringing Bob Fosse to life even when his story could be complicated in the light of the #MeToo era. The show pushed past those concerns to paint a portrait of such a complex man who constantly felt like a fraud in a world that continually validated him. And finally, Jared Harris and Benicio del Toro brought to life the bleak portraits of serious problems facing the world today. Harris delved into nuclear meltdown while del Toro told the story of mass incarceration. Both were wildly different but centered around men whose persuasive powers had very different results and impacts on the world. One was built from selfish desire and the other came from a sincere place of needing to inform people of the true threat they faced.

The Nominees Ranked by Which Will Win:
  1. Jharrel Jerome for Netflix's When They See Us
  2. Mahershala Ali for HBO's True Detective
  3. Sam Rockwell for FX's Fosse/Verdon
  4. Benicio del Toro for Showtime's Escape at Dannemora
  5. Hugh Grant for Amazon's A Very English Scandal
  6. Jared Harris for HBO's Chernobyl

These nominees have collectively won four Academy Awards - coincidentally in the same category: Best Supporting Actor. Does that give Mahershala Ali, Sam Rockwell and Benicio del Toro an edge in this race? It's possible. But it may be difficult to make any firm determinations about this particular category. Again, the voters could realistically go any way in choosing a winner. That makes it very exciting. Of course, it may be too tempting to simply crown Jharrel Jerome at the start of what is bound to be a very exciting and successful career. That way the Emmy voters can say that they recognized his talents before anyone else. His nomination seemed like the most viable and valuable for When They See Us. The strong support the entire limited series got across the board may prove that he has the support to actually pull off a victory here. Before the nominations were announced, it seemed like crossing that threshold would be daunting. But now, a victory seems completely reasonable. In fact, it may be the likely outcome because it was such an immediately powerful impression. He shouldn't be seen as a comfortable frontrunner in any regard though. Ali, Rockwell and del Toro are Oscar winners for a reason. They too delivered stunning performances on shows that were warmly embraced by the voters. Meanwhile, Hugh Grant is a beloved character actor who has been doing some truly engaging work over the last few years. He built a career out of being a romantic leading man. And now, he is delving into such different roles that prove that his range is just as good as anyone else in this field. And finally, Jared Harris is always reliably good in any role given to him. Chernobyl worked because of the central focus he provided. It just may be too daunting for the voters to pick him over some of the other more notable nominees. But Chernobyl collected a fair amount of nominations too. So, he can't be ruled out in this race.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my predictions? Let me know in the comments below!