Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie

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

Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Calvin Abar, Watchmen (A God Walks into Abar)
This is the first Emmy nomination for Abdul-Mateen, who plays a relatively unimportant background character in the first few episodes of his show before taking on a starring role in the penultimate episode. To describe anything about it would be considered a spoiler, but his work is exceptional and completely captivating. Acting with Regina King as a scene partner is no easy feat, but he shines and could very well win this.

Jovan Adepo as Will Reeves, Watchmen (This Extraordinary Being)
This is the first Emmy nomination for Adepo, who appears in just three episodes of his series as the younger version of Louis Gossett Jr.’s character. In the first of those installments, which serves as his submission, he gets to take center stage in flashback memories experienced by Regina King’s Angela. It’s a reserved performance but one that portrays the birth of a hero. Adepo is good, but I think it’s unlikely he can eclipse either of his nominated costars.

Tituss Burgess as Titus Andromedon, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. The Reverend
Burgess received four consecutive nominations for playing this character but missed out for its final season last year. Now, he’s back, both as the lone actor from a TV movie in this category and its lone nomination aside from that top category bid. While he has a longer showcase than the other actors in this race, he’s also in an interactive special and therefore his performance will have been experienced differently by viewers. As the only comedic turn here and the only actor not nominated against a costar, Burgess is an interesting specimen – he could finally win if voters can’t choose which dramatic performances they liked best.

Louis Gossett Jr. as Will Reeves, Watchmen (See How They Fly)
This is Gossett’s eighth career Emmy nomination. He won on his first bid for “Roots” way back in 1977, and was last nominated for his guest turn on “Touched by an Angel” in 1997. Gossett is actually eighty-four years old but plays a centenarian, one who exhibits great power despite his age and apparent frailty. I think he would have done better to submit an earlier episode rather than the finale, but his performance is still impressive and noticeable, even in a busy hour.

Dylan McDermott as Ernie West, Hollywood (Meg)
McDermott has one previous nomination, for “The Practice” in 1999. I remember McDermott fondly in the first episode of this show, confidently running a gas station with benefits in 1940s Los Angeles. I probably would have picked that episode for him to submit, but he’s also strong and endearing in its penultimate hour, which finds him getting to be part of the ritzy fun he was always denied in his career. I’m not sure he can beat Parsons, but I would choose him.

Jim Parsons as Henry Wilson, Hollywood (Outlaws)
This is the ninth career acting nomination for Parsons, who won four times for his leading role on “The Big Bang Theory.” This is a completely different role, one that finds him in a predatory position as an agent who ensures that all of his clients deliver, even if it’s not on stage. I didn’t find Parsons to be anywhere near the best part of his show, but Emmy voters may appreciate his about-face. His submitted episode – the show’s third – was when I started to doubt its quality, in part because of his plotline, but it’s the best showcase of what he’s doing on it.

Who should win: Abdul-Mateen or Burgess
Who will win: I’m really not sure, but I’ll predict Abdul-Mateen to edge out Parsons with very minimal confidence.

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