Thursday, September 3, 2020

Emmy Predictions 2020 - Who Will and Should Win for Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie?

The nominations have been announced for The 72nd 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. Jeremy Irons for HBO's Watchmen
  2. Mark Ruffalo for HBO's I Know This Much Is True
  3. Hugh Jackman for HBO's Bad Education
  4. Paul Mescal for Hulu's Normal People
  5. Jeremy Pope for Netflix's Hollywood

Jeremy Irons delivered the most absurd performance throughout Watchmen. His character was initially seen as incredibly tangential because he had absolutely nothing related to everything else going on in the drama. As the season developed, it was marvelous to watch as this man who believed himself to be the smartest person to ever live had to create obstacles to challenge himself while also being usurped by those he dismissed a long time ago. It was a performance that propped up white exceptionalism that casually looks down upon those deemed not worthy to occupy the same space. But he was also a man digging his way out of obscurity and back to prominence as the true leader of the world. It was so complicated and outrageous. It was delightful to watch every single second of it especially as the trauma and tragedy intensified during the final few episodes. Elsewhere, Mark Ruffalo delivered a performance in the completely opposite direction. It was a dual role where the overwhelming point of the drama was to make it as miserable and devastating for these identical twins as possible. So much tragedy happened over and over again to them. It was draining to watch. However, Ruffalo grounded it all in a reality that allowed some hopefulness to peak in despite all that had gone wrong. It was brutal to experience but Ruffalo brought the necessary gravitas to make it all palatable from moment to moment. 

The Nominees Ranked by Which Will Win:
  1. Mark Ruffalo for HBO's I Know This Much Is True
  2. Jeremy Irons for HBO's Watchmen
  3. Hugh Jackman for HBO's Bad Education
  4. Jeremy Pope for Netflix's Hollywood
  5. Paul Mescal for Hulu's Normal People

Mark Ruffalo and Jeremy Irons have the flashy performances in this category. Those typically earn a lot of praise from these voters. It's easy for them to judge the roles that are incredibly expressive. Jeremy Pope had a lot of that in Hollywood as well. In fact, his character and performance were the most grounded in a reality where the audience could actually understand and root for what he wanted. It was entertaining while never being boring or obnoxious like a lot of the series ultimately was. Meanwhile, Paul Mescal was part of an acting duo on Normal People. Daisy Edgar-Jones did not receive an acting nomination. That shows that support for the program only goes so far. It's hard to argue that one of the central performances outshined the other. It was a true collaboration that allowed the other to produce better work. It was impressive. However, that understanding also shows just how incredible Mark Ruffalo was because he had to act opposite himself. That is even more challenging and daunting. It means he had to always be aware of a character's motivation as well as the acting ticks he did in each particular scene to deliver the drama. It was extensive work where the final product made it all seem effortless. Mark Ruffalo wasn't cloned. He gave two unique performances. That makes him seem like a strong contender for the prize. Yes, Jeremy Irons and Hugh Jackson are strong contenders too because of name recognition and the quality of their roles. But this race could easily sway to Ruffalo because of the sheer volume of work he had to commit to his project.

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