There is no disputing that Michael Douglas is far ahead in the Emmy race for Best Movie/Miniseries Actor. He currently has the backing of all of Gold Derby’s experts and editors and almost 92% of Gold Derby’s users, giving Douglas 1/10 odds of winning. The other four nominees may be left in the dust with only minimal support from our site’s users.
Here’s a closer look at each nominee and what they bring to the competition:
Benedict Cumberbatch, “Parade’s End”
After being nominated in this category last year for “Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia,” the actor earns his second nomination for playing Christopher Tietjens, a statistician who is caught in a loveless marriage and tempted by another woman.
Pro: Benedict Cumberbatch is currently one of the most popular actors on the planet, and the Emmys can be suckers for British stars. His popularity from the recent “Star Trek Into Darkness” and the potential of his upcoming films “The Fifth Estate” and “August: Osage County” shouldn’t be underestimated. He also earned glowing reviews for his performance.
Con: His performance is subdued, and those generally don’t do well here. Also, the program only has one other nomination, for Tom Stoppard’s writing, which suggests little overall support from the TV Academy.
Matt Damon, “Behind the Candelabra”
The Oscar-winning writer is nominated for his performance as Scott Thorson, the young lover of Liberace during the late 70’s and early 80’s. This is Damon’s fifth Emmy nod. He was nominated in 2002, 2004, and 2005 for Reality Program as executive producer of “Project Greenlight” and in 2011 for Comedy Guest Actor for “30 Rock.”
Pro: Matt Damon shows his dramatic chops as Liberace’s lover. He also plays a real person battling drug addiction, which is another plus for his performance. And the film views his relationship with Liberace primarily for his point of view.
Con: The showiness of Douglas’s performance can overshadow Damon, and the idea that the 43-year-old Damon portrays the character from age 16 to 26 may also be a stretch for voters.
Michael Douglas, “Behind the Candelabra”
After a very serious battle with throat cancer, Michael Douglas returns to acting as Liberace during his 10-year romantic relationship with Scott Thorson. It’s his fifth Emmy nomination after earning bids for Drama Supporting Actor for “The Streets of San Francisco” from 1974 to 1976 and Comedy Guest Actor in 2002 for “Will & Grace.”
Pro: The anticipation surrounding Douglas’s performance was immense and by all accounts he delivered in his portrayal of the iconic Liberace. He’s also a two-time Oscar-winner (1975 Best Picture, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and 1987 Best Actor, “Wall Street”), and Emmy does love Oscar-winners. Emmy also loves actors who play real people, as did 18 of the past 25 winners in this category.
Con: Matt Damon does get more screen time, and the frank depiction of Liberace’s sexual relationship with Thorson might turn off more conservative voters, should they be a part of this judging panel.
Toby Jones, “The Girl”
Veteran British character actor Toby Jones portrays legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock during his tumultuous relationship with his leading lady Tippi Hedren. This is Jones’s first Emmy nod; the role also earned him a Golden Globe nomination earlier this year.
Pro: The Emmys have been known to be partial to actors who portray showbusiness icons; previous winners include Geoffrey Rush (“The Life and Death of Peter Sellers”), Halle Berry (“Introducing Dorothy Dandridge”), and Judy Davis and Tammy Blanchard (“Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows”).
Con: Hitchcock being shown as an emotionally abusive predator might turn off some voters, and criticism of the film’s accuracy will probably turn off some others. The film also came right on the heels of the big-screen “Hitchcock” starring Anthony Hopkins, which might have stolen some of its thunder.
Al Pacino, “Phil Spector”
The legendary actor is up for his third Emmy for portraying the titular music legend as he faces trial for the murder of Lana Clarkson.
Pro: Al Pacino is an Oscar-winner playing a real person who is known for being eccentric to say the least. He’s also never lost at the Emmys, having won twice before in this category (“Angels in America” in 2004, “You Don’t Know Jack” in 2010).
Con: The controversy that continues to surround the portrayal of the case and Spector in the movie will probably make Emmy voters hesitant to honor this performance.