Laying The Odds For The Emmys

Part 2: Outstanding Actor in a Drama

OUTSTANDING ACTOR IN A DRAMA

Jason Bateman, Ozark: 4–1. For Playing: Money Launderer Extraordinaire Martin Byrde. Pro: Already renowned for his superb comic work, Bateman’s portrayal of the fast-talking, ultra-efficient Marty is one of the hidden gems on any television server. His SAG award earlier this year shows that his fellow actors clearly appreciate his skill. Con: Bateman’s skills doesn’t change the fact that he’s just playing yet another sleazy antihero. The Emmys may be getting tired of honoring the type

Sterling Brown, This Is Us: 6–1. For Playing: Model Husband/ Father/ Son/ Councilman Randall Pearson. Pro: We already knew Brown’s work as Randall created one of the more endearing characters on TV. But in Season 3, we got to see a certain measure of his selfish streak — particularly in his marriage — and it was amazing how quickly he could make us turn on the man we’d spent two and a half season’s loving. That’s remarkable. Con: He’s already won twice before, and the Emmy hasn’t had back to back winners in this category since Bryan Cranston. They may want to honor a new face.

Kit Harington, Game of Thrones: 11–2. For Playing: Night Watchman Jon Snow. Pro: Of all the morally gray characters on this series, Harington may have ended up being the most heroic of the group. The fact that he managed to be loyal to his queen even while killing her — and paid the price — may have been the only universal positive of the finale. Con: For all the series triumphs in the past, they’ve never done particularly well in the acting categories. And if Harrington couldn’t win for staging the most famous resurrection in history, he might not be able to win for the controversial end.

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul: 9–2. For Playing: Lawyer/Con Artist: Jimmy McGill. Pro: Odenkirk is due. Like beyond due. Over the past four seasons, Jimmy has managed to nearly equal Cranston’s work on the parent series. And in this season, particularly in the finale where Jimmy pulled his greatest con, and embraced his true destiny, Odenkirk made us really mourn for the man that we had lost. He deserves it. Con: Odenkirk has never had the best of luck in this category, even though its really hard to argue with the winners.

Billy Porter, Pose : 39–10. For Playing: Ballroom Impressario Pray Tell. Pro: The heart and soul of one of the best collaborations between FX and Ryan Murphy, Porter’s performance revealed both a brilliant showman and a far more haunted human being. He deserves to get one step closer to an EGOT. Con: History. Emmys haven’t honored a lot of African American actors. Or a lot of openly gay ones. Can the conservative Academy honor both in the same award?

Milo Ventimiglia, This is Us: 7–1. For Playing: Legendary Father Jack Pearson. Pro: The first two seasons, Ventimiglia portrayed Jack as someone who was a borderline saint. This year, as he was got a look at his service in Vietnam — and the brother he came to protect and then gave up on — we saw a much darker side of him, one that caused his loving family in the present to doubt him. That deserves recognition. Con: For better or worse, Ventimiglia has been overshadowed by the rest of the cast. If he couldn’t win when we found out he died, can he when we learn how he lived?

PREDICTION: This will be a tough one. Odenkirk deserves to triumph and probably will, but don’t rule out sentiment and justice giving the prize to Porter.

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