I Lay The Odds For This Year’s Emmys
Week 1, Part 4: Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama
Nicholas Braun, Succession:9–1. For playing: Greg Hirsch, the Roy unloved cousin. Pro: Greg continuously takes more abuse than just about everybody on the series, which is saying a lot. The episode where he ‘broke up’ with Tom — a family member in-law who knows he’ll never be part of the inner circle — was funny because they both knew how low the ‘high stakes’ actually were in the family. Considering how little recognition he gets, it’s appealing to me Braun was acknowledged. Con: He’s just not a member of the family. As appealing as his character can be, it’s hard to see him triumphing over, say, Culkin who steals every scene he’s in.
Billy Crudup, The Morning Show: 5–1. For Playing: Cory Ellison, the scheming head manager of the show. Pro: Perhaps the only member of the cast who didn’t disappoint, Crudup has been one of the most undervalued character actors in the history of just about everything. He’s overdue recognition for his work, and the fact that he won Best Supporting Actor from the Broadcast Critics put him on everybody’s radar. With Jonathan Banks not nominated, the front-runner status falls to him. Con: With all of the focus on the two female leads, not enough attention may have been made to Crudup’s superb work. This is the kind of performance that falls through the cracks unless you’re really looking for it.
Kieran Culkin, Succession: 11–2. For Playing: Roman Roy, the youngest son of the Roy clan. Pro: Let’s be honest, at least half of what makes this series sing is watching Culkin chew the scenery and deliver the perfect one-liner to puncture whoever else is unfortunate enough to be sharing space with him. I made a huge error by not considering that he would go nominated for this year, because he’s the biggest part of the fun. He’s been moving up steadily in this category. Con: What might be called the Game of Thrones factor: with so many co-stars in this category, it could divide the vote against him. Then again, it always worked out for Peter Dinklage…
Mark Duplass, The Morning Show: 10–1. For Playing: Chip Black, the cynical producer of the series. Pro: Full disclosure: I’m a huge fan of the Duplass brothers. There work in the independent film industry was groundbreaking, and individually and as a pair they’ve been borne to this kind of medium. I thought the series Togetherness was a criminally undervalued series, and Room 104 seems exactly like the kind of show an independent film anthology would make. So I was overjoyed to see him finally get nominated for his acting. Con: That being said, his nomination was probably the biggest shock of this category, and its hard to understand why Steve Carell wasn’t nominated here instead of for Best Actor. Considering he’s not even the most favored member of his cast in this category, he will probably go unrecognized again.
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul: 7–1. For playing: Gustavo Fring, owner of Los Pollos Hermanos/ drug cartel in Albueqerque. Pro: Gus has always been the most fascinating villain in Gilligan’s world, and watching him deal with a Salmanca family member who has been his most worthy adversary, while trying to maintain his business interest with the cartel, is among some of the greatest work he’s ever done. He has long deserved an Emmy for it. Con: With so many great actors in this cast — and let’s be honest, quite a few of them were ignored this year — it is possible that he’ll be overlooked yet again. They have so far.
Matthew MacFayden, Succession:13–2. For Playing: Tom, Shiv’s husband, still getting used to the idea that his wife always will consider fidelity secondary to power. Pro: Tom has the misfortune of being low enough on the food chain to know that he’s never going to be a player, not even to his wife. Which is why it really made sense that Logan was going to sacrifice him… until Shiv pleaded for him. Macfayden is part of much the humor on this show (though not all, see above,) as well as being one of the busiest character actors in all of TV. (His work in the limited series Quiz proves that out) Worthy of a nod. Con: Just like on the show, MacFayden is always going to be ignored for a brighter sun… or maybe son is the better word. I’m glad he was recognized; I don’t think he’ll win.
Bradley Whitford, The Handmaid’s Tale:15–2. For Playing: Joseph Lawrence, the ‘Architect’ of Gilead. Pro: Whitford is one of my favorite actors, period. And it shows the range he has to consider the three Emmys he’s won, for playing Josh on The West Wing, a cross-dresser (but that was it) on Transparent, and his work as the deeply flawed man at the center of the dystopia. Though I’m not this series biggest booster, I’m glad to see Whitford here. Con: The series has fallen lower in recognition over the past year, and I’m still not sure how Whitford could win for Guest Actor and Supporting Actor in the same season. I think that may involve a bridge too far for Emmy voters.
Jeffrey Wright, Westworld: 9–1. For Playing: Bernard, the robot leading a rebellion that has since moved to the ‘real world’. Pro: Perhaps its because of his original nature, but in a way Bernard has become the conscience of this often confused series, the guiding light when all around seek war. Add to the fact that Wright has been owed an Emmy since Angels of America, and it’s a pretty strong argument for honoring him. Con: Westworld officially went off its axis in the middle of this season, according to all but the most devoted fans — it wasn’t nominated for Best Drama, for one thing — and there is a tendency of all the most loyal to get increasingly impatient with its progress. This may end up acting against Wright, unfortunately.
Prediction: Much as I’d like to see Esposito triumph, I think it’s more likely that Crudup will end up edging everybody else out.