My Predictions For This Years Emmys: Movie/Limited Series Edition
Part 2: Outstanding Lead Actor in a TV Movie/Limited Series
The winner may be predetermined, but it doesn’t change the fact that this category will feature some of the best actors in television and movies playing some truly memorable characters. And for a change, I think there will be at least a few actors from some impressive films this year.
Russell Crowe, The Loudest Voice
Had this series aired later in the year instead of last July, I truly believe it would be in contention for more awards and Crowe would be a front-runner. (He did win the Golden Globe for Best Actor in a very impressive field.) Crowe has always been one of our greatest actors, but he truly disappeared into the frightened makeup of Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News and one of the most controversial figures in history. It would have easy to show just the steps that led to his fall, but Crowe showed his full rise and what he managed to accomplish, how much of a tyrant he became, and how he finally was brought down — fighting all the way. Not even Crowe’s abilities could make us feel sympathy for this man, but he did create a full picture of this man who did change the world — for better or worse. He was always going to be here.
Jeremy Irons, Watchmen
Admittedly, much of the action of Adrian Veidt, aka Ozymandias, the world’s smartest man, took place on literally a different world and time than much of the main action of this series. But Irons completely captured the full and utter narcissism and majesty of a hero who truly thought he needed to change the world — and then at the last minute, managed to save it from oblivion once again. He was the only obvious link to the original comic book — as I shall illustrate with some of the other nominees, this would prove not to be true — and he managed to fully capture the level of genius and ego that made him the ultimate foe at the center of the original comic, and ultimately the man whose ego got in the way of saving it again. He may be the only nominee for the series that doesn’t pick up a trophy, but look upon and him, ye mortals, and marvel.
Hugh Jackman, Bad Education
As someone who lives not far from the area where so much of the action of this exceptional movie takes place, I have a place in my heart for it. But even if I lived in Nome, it would be hard to ignore the extraordinary work of Hugh Jackman as Frank Tassone, the beloved superintendent of schools in Rosslyn who was living a secret life as a gay man (a forgivable flaw) and who embezzled more than twenty million dollars (not forgivable) We see so much of Jackman associated with Wolverine that we often forget what an incredibly subtle actor he can be, and since so much of Frank’s job is performing, there’s a double level to it that he may not even be admitting to himself, right up until the end. Even the real Tassone was impressed by Jackman’s work; it’s obvious the Academy will be too.
Ben Mendelsohn, The Outsider
If you had the pleasure of watching Mendelsohn work on the tremendously undervalued Netflix series Bloodline, for which he deservedly won an Emmy, you already know what a gifted and subtle performer he can be. If your first real exposure to him was as Ralph Anderson, the troubled cop whose arrest of a little league coach for a despicable murder is only the beginning of a trip into the unknown, then you know just how truly gifted he is. As an absolute realist who can’t accept the supernatural mire he finds himself getting deeper and deeper into, Mendelsohn is our rock going forward. This is a performance that deserves to be recognized here, not as a regular series
Aaron Paul, El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie
Is there anything left that can be said about Aaron Paul’s extraordinary role as Jesse Pinkman? After six seasons and three Emmys, you’d think no. You might also think there was no need for a sequel to a series that ended so perfectly. Paul made it wrong on all counts. So much of his performance was based on being silent (and considering the level of trauma that Jesse went through in the last three episodes alone you could hardly blame him), but as he tried to get past the damage that Walter White had done to him and make one final, desperate escape, we remembered (as if we needed reminding) just how great a character Jesse is and how great an actor Paul was. Would it be overkill to give Paul one more Emmy? Maybe. Do I think he deserves it? To quote him: “Yeah, bitch!”
Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much is True
Even before this limited series, it was clear that Ruffalo is one of the great character actors in history, someone who can show pain and anguish so well in films such as Spotlight and The Normal Heart. In the dual role of Dominic and Thomas, twin brothers who life seems to have gone out of its way to torment — Tom as a schizophrenic, Dominic as the caregiver who’s considered Tom his burden to bear so long, he won’t accept help from anybody else — Ruffalo gave a master class in acting. The two brothers were identical but clearly not exactly alike, which was just one of the many major changes Ruffalo did in his performance. And he went out of his way to make these tormented characters as unsympathetic to the audience because of the way life has broken them. This was a dazzling performance, and it is almost certainly going to win Ruffalo an Emmy. I couldn’t be more thrilled.
FOR YOUR CONSIDERATION
Guy Pearce, A Christmas Carol
Was he a little young to be playing Scrooge? Well, maybe. But Pearce has been one of the most undervalued actors in any medium that he made it work. We’ve seen Scrooge performed so many times that you think every level of nuance had been stomped out deader than Jacob Marley. But Pearce, perhaps because of his relative youth, was able to reach the level of character that I haven’t seen played by a Scrooge since the days of Patrick Stewart. And come on, wouldn’t it be great to see two of the leads from L..A. Confidential fighting it out?