Saturday, September 8, 2018

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Nominees are listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

F. Murray Abraham as Dar Adal, Homeland (All In)
Abraham was nominated for this same role back in 2015. He appears in just one scene of his submitted episode, angrily expressing his frustration with his current position as a potential return to favor was offered to him. It’s a very brief appearance, and whereas I said that he could win three years ago because his show was coming back into favor with Emmy voters, it’s barely on the nominations list this year. Count him out.

Cameron Britton as Ed Kemper, Mindhunter (Episode 2)
Here we have a highly unusual inclusion: an unknown actor without many credits to his name earning his first-ever awards bid for a freshman series that probably almost got in for Best Drama Series but ended up placing nowhere else in any category. Britton was eerily excellent as the world’s politest serial killer, eager to share his exploits with anyone who would listen. I do know that John Lithgow won this award for playing a serial killer almost a decade ago, and I’m pretty sure both Michael Emerson and Charles S. Dutton won did the same. Those shows were up for Best Drama Series and a handful of other awards, so this would be a first, but based on the quality of the performance, I doubt anyone would be truly shocked.

Matthew Goode as Antony Armstrong-Jones, The Crown (Matrimonium)
This is the first Emmy nomination for Goode, who appeared on both “The Good Wife” and “Downton Abbey” previously. He’s far less likeable here than he’s been in other projects, but the performance is still very good as his already slimy suitor turns out to be less honest than even viewers knew. It’s a subtler performance that I couldn’t see winning unless the show really did explode in popularity, which I don’t think it will this year.

Ron Cephas Jones as William Hill, This Is Us (A Father’s Advice)
Jones was nominated last year in the supporting category back when he was a series regular. His submitted episode is the season two premiere, though I couldn’t find any mention of his appearance in my review. Reading a letter to his son and showing up in a flashback with Beth aren’t all that substantive, and if he couldn’t win last year for a knockout episode, I don’t think he’ll score this time either.

Gerald McRaney as Dr. Nathan Katowski, This Is Us (The Car)
McRaney won this award last year, and he’s the only immediate returning nominee. The sentimental doctor showed up again right after Jack’s death to comfort Rebecca and tell her about the relationship that they had, which should pull the heartstrings in exactly the way that fans of his show have come to expect. He’ll probably triumph again unless another endearing nominee from his show above eclipses him.

Jimmi Simpson as William, Westworld (Reunion)
I’m very happy to see Simpson, who I first found compelling in “Virtuality,” a show that never got picked up beyond its pilot, finally earning accolades. This is a classic case, in my mind, of an actor being recognized for previous work, as Elizabeth Mitchell was years ago with a big for “Lost” in its final season. Simpson was terrific in season one and continues to be great, but I don’t know that his performance in a strong look at how this world got created will stand out nearly as much.

Who should win (based on entire season): N/A
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Britton
Who will win: It may well be McRaney again, but I’m going to hedge my bets on Britton taking home the award on the merits of his performance alone.

Next up: Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

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