Ed Harris is favored to win Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor for playing presidential candidate John McCain in “Game Change.” His standing is almost as solid as costar Julianne Moore who portrayed Republican running mate Sarah Palin. Harris is favored by ten Experts, nine Editors and 75% of Users. Over the past quarter century, 11 men have won this category for playing real life people.
Martin Freeman (“Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia“) and David Strathairn (“Hemingway and Gellhorn“) both have the backing of one Editor. Although Denis O’Hare (“American Horror Story“) does not have the support of any Experts or Editors, five percent of users believe in him while Tom Berenger (“Hatfields and McCoys“) has the backing of one Editor and two percent of our Users.
Let’s take a closer look at nominees.
Tom Berenger, “Hatfields & McCoys”
Almost two decades after earning a 1993 nod for a guest role on “Cheers”, Berenger earns his second Emmy bid for playing a violent war deserter who takes up with the Hatfield clan.
Pro: Berenger is a great character actor who plays this role in a wonderfully ruthless manner that makes you absolutely hate him.
Con: He’s often outshone by other performers in the miniseries.
Martin Freeman, “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia”
After originating the role of Tim on the British version of “The Office”, Freeman earns his first Emmy nod as a modern version of Dr. Watson.
Pro: Freeman plays Watson perfectly as a calm counterpoint to Benedict Cumberbatch’s eccentric performance as Holmes.
Con: The role does not have the type of showiness or range of emotions that one might look to reward in this category.
Pro: Harris plays the iconic politician in his own way and allows McCain to be the calm voice of reason in an otherwise calamitous campaign. The telefilm plays well on both sides of the political divide — liberals like it because it reminds them of the McCain they used to admire and conservatives love it for a positive portrayal of one of their heroes.
Con: Even Harris’s best scenes are not very showy in terms of the emotions involved.
Denis O’Hare, “American Horror Story”
This Tony winner scores his first Emmy nod for playing burn victim Larry Harvey, who is a constant and unwelcome presence in the Harmon household.
Pro: O’Hare plays this mysterious character wonderfully with the same sort of style that brought him great acclaim in “True Blood”.
Con: The horror genre might not play well here and his character has a long streak of selfishness that voters may find unappealing.
David Strathairn, “Hemingway & Gellhorn”
After scoring his first nod and win two years ago for “Temple Grandin”, Strathairn is back in the same category for playing author and journalist John Dos Passos.
Pro: He is a past Emmy winner who channels his wonderful method of acting into the passion of Dos Passos’s coverage of the Spanish Civil War.
Con: His character makes an impact on the first half of the movie but is gone before the movie reaches its halfway point and isn’t mentioned again.