Saturday, September 8, 2018

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series

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

Sterling K. Brown as Philip Davidson, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (The Box)
Brown has won Emmys the past two years, first for “The People vs. OJ Simpson” and then for “This Is Us,” for which he’s nominated again this year. I thoroughly enjoyed this hilarious episode, and Brown is definitely entertaining as a dentist being interrogated by Andre Braugher and Andy Samberg for his alleged role in a murder. Brown’s popular enough, but I think the fact that the show isn’t nominated anywhere else means that his chances are very slim.

Bryan Cranston as Dr. Lionel Templeton, Curb Your Enthusiasm (Running with the Bulls)
Cranston has ten previous acting nominations, for “All the Way,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Malcolm in the Middle.” He won three times. In his submitted episode, he plays a therapist who finds his own vacation plans and other details spilled to other people as a violation of his so-called “patient-doctor confidentiality.” I found it to be very funny, and Cranston, who used to be considerably more exaggerated in his comedy performances, plays this one perfectly. If voters like him enough and can’t pick an SNL host, he could win.

Donald Glover as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Donald Glover)
Glover won an Emmy for starring in and directing “Atlanta” last year, and he contends for those and a writing trophy again this year. Glover is hot, and getting to be the musical guest, Childish Gambino, for the same episode he’s hosting boosts his chances considerably. Though he’s hardly the funniest host that SNL has ever had, I think that he’s popular enough that he might win. He’ll just have to beat…

Bill Hader as Various Characters, Saturday Night Live (Host: Bill Hader)
Hader was nominated twice, in 2012 and 2013, in the supporting race when he was a regular cast member, and then again in 2015 in this category. He’s up for three additional individual Emmys for writing, directing, and starring in “Barry.” His latest stint hosting the show that helped make him famous is a lot of fun, and the fact that he goes straight into a sketch during his opening monologue shows his strengths. I think he has a great shot, though he’s going to have to beat Glover.

Lin-Manuel Miranda as Himself, Curb Your Enthusiasm (Fatwa!)
This is Miranda’s second consecutive nomination in this category, though he’s contending this year for a different show after hosting SNL last year. He won an Emmy in 2014 for writing a song for the Tony Awards. On HBO’s long-running comedy, Miranda plays a version of himself who really doesn’t get along with Larry David as they put on a big production. I didn’t love Miranda here, and I’m not sure if playing himself instead of a handful of characters in sketches will encourage voters to check off his name more or less.

Katt Williams as Uncle Willie, Atlanta (Alligator Man)
Williams was a nominee I really didn’t expect this year, moderately memorable from the season premiere of FX’s hit dramatic comedy as Uncle Willie, who nearly got arrested as part of a domestic disturbance and used an alligator to try to make his getaway. Him showing up here is victory enough, and if he ended up taking home this award, I would be truly shocked since he’s not even likely to ride a wave of support for his show to a win.

Who should win (based on entire season): N/A
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Cranston
Who will win: I think it’s a competition, as it is in three other categories, between Hader and Glover. I’m going with the former because I think voters are endeared to him because of his past on the show. Miranda could sweep in and take it, but I’d be surprised.

Next up: Best Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

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