My Picks For This Year’s Emmy Nominations: TV Movie/Limited Series
Part 14: Outstanding Supporting Actor In A TV Movie/Limited Series
This is always a tricky category to vet, even though none of the major series that infiltrated this category are present. Expect Ryan Murphy’s series, as is their want, to dominate the category. I have problems with American Horror Story, but not American Crime Story. I actually don’t have objections to some of the HBO movies this year, but my choices probably won’t be the same ones that picked. Here are my preferences.
Jeff Daniels, The Looming Tower
I’ve always had mixed emotions about Daniels’ work on television. I thought his win and nominations for The Newsroom were some of the biggest errors the Academy has made since he joined the television revolution. But his presence as an actor has been much more measured in some limited series. He has as much a chance of prevailing for his work in Netflix’s Godless, which earned him a SAG nomination earlier in the year. But I think it more likely he will earn it for his fine work as the doomed security head at the World Trade Towers before 9–11. And should he get a nomination for playing the lead, I wouldn’t object to that either.
David Lynch, Twin Peaks: The Return
In some ways, this may seem like the most ludicrous pick of all, particularly considering that there are a lot of other good options from this very series, including lawmen Dana Ashbrook and the late Miguel Ferrer. But the truth is, Lynch’s work as Gordon Cole, the FBI supervisor of Dale Cooper, used mostly for comic relief in the original series, was one of the stabilizing agents of the new version. As Cole found himself going deeper into the morass that ended up grabbing his finest agent, Lynch demonstrated gifts as an actor nearly as polished as his work as a director and a writer. Perhaps its not surprising that seemed able to deal with the mess that kept spiraling, even as he managed to lay out some of the more comic moments with his chronic problems with hearing. I think the odds of him getting nominated are remote. But the odds were long this series would ever see the light of day.
Edgar Ramirez, The Assassination of Gianni Versace
In some ways, much like in the first season of Crime Story, the title character ended up playing second fiddle to far more brilliant suns. But its hard to imagine the series working as well as it did without Ramirez to anchor it. As he played an iconic fashion designer, struggling with his relationship, deal with being HIV positive, trying to find a way for his sister to find her muse, and slowly climb himself back to life all the while knowing that he would face a horrible demise, Ramirez managed to hit all the right notes as this man who was born too early and died too soon. It’s hard to imagine the rest of the leads won’t get nominated, but Ramirez earned it.
Jason Ritter, The Tale
Since I first encountered this incredible actor on the undervalued Joan of Arcadia, Ritter has earned a great reputation playing warm, nice guys. (He just got through a stint playing one on Kevin (probably) Saves The World). So it was incredibly shocking to see him cast radically against type as the running coach who very slowly is revealed to be a monster and a pedophile, and yet remain so charming that not even decades later does his victim realize she was abused. Frankly, its a hard performance to watch, and not just because many of the scenes involve the seduction and molestation of a thirteen year old. It’s because the viewer has such a hard time equating it with the actor we have come to respect. Ritter’s never quite gotten the acknowledgement he deserves from the Emmys. This should qualify as one such performance.
Michael Shannon, Farenheit 451
Shannon has never earned the respect for any of the roles he’s place on film, stage or TV. Mainly because they are characters that even when they appear normal, there’s something discomforting about them. But now, role and actor were perfectly matched when Shannon played Captain Beatty, the head of the fire department. As either mentor or villain, he never quite fit the role, but watching him maneuver Montag into surrendering the free will he’s spent a movie earning — before a crowd of millions — was some of the most unsettling work he’s done. Some may protest that the rewrite of the movie was wrong. But seeing Shannon stand over the defiant Montag in the final scene was one of the most memorable moments of 2017. He deserves to get his first Emmy nomination.
Hugo Weaving, Patrick Melrose
Weaving has played some truly memorable villains in his time, but as David, Patrick’s father, Weaving did some of his most truly horrific work. Seen by everybody who knew him as ‘a remarkable man’, every we see about him from the moment he first appears on screen as this hulking, washed out brute, who only seems human when he’s demeaning somebody. We know he’s a monster before the horrific things he does to his son ever take place. In a year when some of the best performances dealt with true evil, Weaving’s work reminded us just how easy it is for someone to be a monster mainly because his sins are ignored. Even under Cumberbatch’s work, Weaving was nearly at his level.