Week 3, Part 4: Outstanding Supporting Actor IN A Movie, Limited Series or (sigh) Special
I have to be honest. This is the only category I don’t want to try and pick a winner because IMHO, there are only two nominees who deserve to be here at all and even that’s stretching things. Leaving aside the Hamilton obsession, at least two of the nominated actors weren’t the strongest contenders in the Limited Series they were nominated for. For that matter two of the Hamilton actors deserved to be nominated…for different shows. You could fill an entire category with actors I considered more worthy and still have room for Jon Boyega, who even though I didn’t respect his performance, his Golden Globe still showed he should be here. I will do my very best not to let my lack of enthusiasm seep in. It’s going to be difficult, though.
Thomas Brodie-Sangster, The Queen’s Gambit: 11–2. For Playing: Benny Watts, the stylish chess expert who takes Elizabeth under his wing. Pro: Under other circumstances you could just see Benny as another sportsman (though its hard to imagine any chess player with that fedora and cigarette) but Brodie-Sangster gave this role a sense of real style. Initially serving as mentor, he quickly realized Elizabeth’s potential and in the last act truly became the ally she needed to manage her ultimate triumph. It was a memorable portrayal. Con: Until Brodie-Sangster was nominated, I’m relatively certain the world figured Bill Camp was going to be in this category and a likely favorite to win it. There’s part of me that really thinks that in this case the Emmys chose flash over substance.
Daveed Diggs, Hamilton: 4–1. For Playing: Thomas Jefferson/Marquis De Lafayette. Pro: Diggs has become one of the biggest stars in any medium he works in — we’ve seen in Blindspotting and black-ish just to name his most obvious stops. He is one of the most gifted performers working today and he is fully worthy of recognition from the Emmys. Con: Indeed, Diggs does deserve to be nominated…for playing Frederick Douglass in The Good Lord Bird. His work there was a genuine force, taking a character who is revered through history and turning him into something of a rogue who thinks that John Brown was too radical for him. If Diggs had been nominated for that role, I’d gladly sing his praises. For recreating his stage role, I can’t in good conscience advocate for him.
Paapa Essiedu, I May Destroy You: 9–2. For Playing: Kwame, Arabella’s gay friend who goes through his sexual adventures and struggles with consent. Pro: I’m honestly a little shocked Essiedu isn’t ranked higher in this category. Kwame was just as important as Arabella in this series as we followed a character who experimented with his sexuality and then wondered if that experiment was really a choice. In many ways, his journey was more daring than Arabella’s because this was a character we’ve seen in few TV series at all — its rare than any series takes the idea of male’s consent as anything other than a story of the week. Essiedu deserves full credit for making this performance resonate. Con: It’s going to be a major step for the Emmys to recognize Coel for their work. It’s going to take a lot of guts for them to go even this far.
Jonathan Groff, Hamilton:13–2. For Playing: King George. Pro: All right, I can’t hold it in: WHAT WERE YOU THINKING EMMYS? I like Jonathan Groff; I think his work on Looking was a minor masterpiece. But seriously, you’re recognizing one of the smallest roles in a taped stage play over Donald Sutherland, Glynn Turman or Joshua Caleb Johnson? The entire academy is going to be ripped for their excess for Hamilton and I’m not even saying this is your most ridiculous nomination this year *cough- Ewan McGregor* but this is ludicrous. It is nominations like this one that truly make people question the Emmys validity. You did a great job for the lion’s share of your nominees, don’t get me wrong, but here, I can’t in good conscience even pretend to offer an argument for him. I apologize to Groff, I look forward to the day when you are nominated for a role worthy of you. This isn’t it
Evan Peters, Mare of Easttown: 7–2. For Playing: Colin Zabel, the out-of-town detective who becomes Mare’s unwilling partner in the murders. Pro: Colin was one of the only truly fresh-faced characters in this entire series, though like so many of the other characters, we would learn it was a mask. Peters had a devotion to the truth that not even Mare was willing to admit to, and was willing to go to her for help when he needed it. Add to this the fact that he’s been in this category several times and never won and also recreated a version of his character in Wandavision which also could’ve earned him a nomination, and its easy to see why he’s the outstanding favorite. I certainly understand why the HCA picked him over (in all honesty) much stronger competition. Con: It was a stellar performance, but as we all know, Mare of Easttown was all about the women. Is it right to honor the only male in the cast?
Anthony Ramos, Hamilton: 11–2. For Playing: John Laurens/Philip Hamilton. Pro: Ramos is another one of those actors whose moment truly seems to have come this year. This is the third major onscreen production that he has appeared in this year where he registered raves and he more than deserves recognition from the Emmys. Con: And I thought he’d be nominated for Best Supporting Actor…in a Drama, for his extraordinary work as Eladio in In Treatment, a caretaker who thinks he’s suffering from a bipolar disorder but turns out to have so much love in his heart. It was one of the great performances of this year, and the fact that he was nominated for Hamilton and not that is another one of those mistakes I can’t forgive the academy. Ramos is a great actor and I’m sure we’ll see him back here again. Maybe for his work in the TV adaptation of Blindspotting.
PREDICTION: I may change channels when this category comes up, but I expect to hear Evan Peters’ name announced before I do.
I’ll wrap this up tomorrow…sort of.