While it’s the ladies that were from and center yesterday, we now shift the spotlight to the gents as we discuss the Lead Actor in a Miniseries or TV Movie race in our continuous coverage of the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards. It’s the third year in a row that I have a perfect track record of predicting the line up here, so I don’t know if it’s jsut the predictability of the race or just a good summation of who Emmy’s favorites were. Anyway let’s begin.
Speaking of third year in a row, this is Benedict Cumberbatch‘s third consecutive nomination in this category after being nominated for the second season of Sherlock in 2012 and the HBO movie Parade’s End last year. While His Last Vow rakes its biggest nomination haul for the series by far, I don’t think Cumberbatch is much in the race especially with likelier movie star frontrunners in here. He can count on an Oscar nod for himself though come January for The Imitation Game to be released late this year.
And while at the topic of Oscar nod, coming off from an Oscar nomination earlier this year, Chiwetel Ejiofor follows it up with an Emmy nomination, this time for the Starz miniseries Dancing on the Edge. Sadly for Ejiofor, his nomination is his reward given how much the Emmys snubbed the show altogether (he’s the lone nomination from it). I would have wanted a follow up to the Ejiofor-McConaughey Oscar race tho had True Detective stayed to compete here in the longform categories.
But while we didn’t get an Ejiofor-McConaughey repeat, we can resort to the alternate one of a race between Ejiofor and Idris Elba instead. Both were twice nominated for the same two categories at the Golden Globes earlier this year: one is for Movie Actor Drama (former for 12 Years a Slave, latter for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom). The other one is for their respective roles in this category. Like in 2012, Elba nabs a repeat nomination for his role in Luther. This was confirmed as the show’s last season already, and though I don’t think it will chaneg the voting game, it will probably have at least a bit of an effect to the voting (…or not).
Then we also have Mark Ruffalo who’s enjoying a career best 2014 by far. Starting at Sundance in January for Infinitely Polar Bear to his run at Cannes for Foxcatcher in May, and the good reviews he received from John Carney’s Begin Again, he’s definitely on a roll. That said, his Emmy vehicle this year is the TV movie frontrunner The Normal Heart where he played gay activist Ned Weeks. After all, the current winner in this category is Michael Douglas for playing gay pianist Liberace.
Now to cap this off, it’s not only the Lead Actress category where we have two nominees from the same show. If the women has American Horror Story: Coven, then the men has Fargo. Billy Bob Thornton comes back with a bang in this project where he plays sinister Lorne Malvo. His is the more awards-baity character between the two as he’s the flat out villainess evil character here. The other nomination is for Martin Freeman, who plays insurance salesman Lester Nygaard, who was caught in the series of incidents involving him and Malvo. Personally speaking, I preferred Freeman’s performance more than Thornton, but between his two nominations, they might reward Freeman instead in the Supporting category.
While the consensus thinks it will be an easy win for Mark Ruffalo, I don’t think this is an easy win as one perceives. I feel that this will be a tight race between the two one-time Oscar Supporting Actor nominees. Ruffalo is seen as the obvious choice. I mean he’s a straight actor playing the gay lead in a TV movie with a strong political statement. If this was Oscar, he’s certain to be winning it already. That said, Fargo is the most nominated miniseries this year and the support for it is really staggering. If there’s anything this category loves more than portraying gay characters, that is rewarding veteran movie stars with wins here as evidenced by Geoffrey Rush in 2005, Robert Duvall in 2007, Kevin Costner in 2012, and Michael Douglas last year. I keep going back and forth, but I guess I’m going with Mark Ruffalo by a hair.
Prediction: Mark Ruffalo, “The Normal Heart“
Alternate: Billy Bob Thornton, “Fargo“
01. Mark Ruffalo, “The Normal Heart“
02. Billy Bob Thornton, “Fargo“
03. Martin Freeman, “Fargo”
04. Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: His Last Vow“
05. Idris Elba, “Luther“
06. Chiwetel Ejiofor, “Dancing on the Edge“
Click here to see my other 2014 Emmy prediction analysis. For more Emmy talk, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl