Saturday, September 14, 2019

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actor in a Comedy Series

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

Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson, Black-ish (Purple Rain)
This is the fifth consecutive nomination for Anderson, but he’s alone without any costar or his show nominated in the top race for the first time in three years. Two years ago, I thought he had a real shot to upset, but since then, his show has clearly just declined in popularity. Educating his kids about the power of Prince, however amusing to some, is hardly the kind of breakthrough performance that might have earned the attention of voters.

Don Cheadle as Maurice Monroe, Black Monday (365)
This is Cheadle’s ninth career Emmy nomination and in his fifth in this category. He earned four consecutive bids for “House of Lies,” a guest acting nomination for “ER,” and three nominations for television movies before that. Cheadle now contends for playing a wild moneyman in the 1980s, who completely dominates his show’s pilot. Cheadle is here with no other support for his show, which suggests he isn’t likely to win, but he’ll probably garner some votes if those casting ballots can stand his egotistical, horrible character.

Ted Danson as Michael, The Good Place (The Worst Possible Use of Free Will)
This is the second consecutive nomination for Danson, whose show broke through and joined the Best Comedy Series race this year. Additionally, Danson has fifteen previous nominations and two wins, both for “Cheers” in this category. Danson is undeniably fantastic, though he’s not the only one in the cast, and his submission isn’t a great choice. He’s just guiding another character through her own journey in it rather than doing entertaining things like harnessing human emotion, and I think he needs something stronger to be able to win. Maybe next year for his show’s final season!

Michael Douglas as Sandy Kominsky, The Kominsky Method (Chapter 1: An Actor Avoids)
Douglas won an Emmy in 2013 for “Behind the Candelabra” and was previously nominated once for guesting on “Will and Grace” and three times for starring in “The Streets of San Francisco” in the 1970s. Douglas won the Golden Globe, and his show also won the top prize there. Now, he’s up without his series for the pilot episode that introduces audience to his aging actor with a big sense of himself. Douglas is respected, likeable, and funny, but his show getting snubbed may hurt his chances.

Bill Hader as Barry Berkman, Barry (The Truth Has a Ring to It)
Hader won this award last year after four previous SNL nominations. For the second year in a row, he also contends for writing and directing his show. His submission of an episode that finds him performing sensationally on stage while dealing with more annoying side distractions is pretty solid, and he could very easily win again.

Eugene Levy as Johnny Rose, Schitt’s Creek (Rock On!)
Levy has nine previous nominations and two wins for writing “SCTV Network.” This is his first Emmy nomination in thirty-six years and his first acting bid (he also contends for producing his show, up for the first time). Levy plays the owner of a motel who, in his submitted episode, accidentally walks in on an employee in a compromised position. Levy is funny and beloved, but a vote for him would mean decades of industry respect rather than actually watching his work here.

Who should win (based on entire season): Hader, Danson, Douglas, or Cheadle
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Hader, Douglas, or Cheadle
Who will win: Though I think that Hader might repeat, I’m going to give Douglas the edge.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series

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