As we noted recently, HBO’s “The Normal Heart” has a lot in common with “Angels in America,” and among their similarities are their deep rosters of Emmy-friendly supporting performances. “Angels in America” dominated the race for Movie/Mini Supporting Actor in 2004. How many Emmy nominations will “Normal Heart” get?
“Angels” filled four of the five supporting-actor slots: Justin Kirk, Ben Shenkman, Patrick Wilson, and Jeffrey Wright, who went up against William H. Macy for Showtime’s “Stealing Sinatra.” Wright won the contest for reprising the multiple roles that won him a Tony for “Angels” on stage in 1994.
“The Normal Heart” has its sights set even higher; HBO is entering five men in the Supporting Actor race: Matt Bomer, Taylor Kitsch, Joe Mantello, Alfred Molina, and Jim Parsons. How many of them should we expect to break through?
Bomer seems to be the strongest candidate. He ranks second in our overall predictions with 10/3 odds, and he has the showiest role: Felix Turner, a reporter dying of AIDS, which required Bomer to lose more than 30 pounds. Going to such drastic lengths for a part often appeals to awards voters – Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto just won Oscars for similar transformations in “Dallas Buyers Club” – and the role is already a proven winner: John Benjamin Hickey earned a Tony as Felix in 2011.
Up next may be Parsons as level-headed activist Tommy Boatwright, a role he also played on Broadway. He didn’t receive a Tony nod for his stage performance, but the role has been expanded for the screen, and the Emmys are Parsons’s home turf: he’s already a three-time Best Comedy Actor winner for “The Big Bang Theory.” Seeing the funnyman in a dramatic role may further impress voters, and he currently ranks fourth in our predictions with 8/1 odds.
Mantello earned a Tony nomination playing the lead role in the Broadway production. He’s back for the HBO adaptation, albeit in a smaller role: activist Mickey Marcus, who has a showstopping scene in which he confesses to contemplating suicide. That scene helped him earn a surprise Critics’ Choice nomination for Movie/Mini Supporting Actor alongside Bomer, and any TV academy members who equally admire his stage work might want to give him a boost at the Emmys too. He currently trails with 33/1 odds, but he’s on the rise following his Critics’ Choice bid.
As Bruce Niles, the closeted president of the Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Kitsch stretches himself dramatically following recent roles as soldiers and action heroes (“Lone Survivor,” “John Carter,” “Battleship“). His star is on the rise on the big screen, and he may also have residual good will with academy members who remember him fondly as Tim Riggins on “Friday Night Lights.” He was never nominated for that role, and Emmy voters may want to play catchup.
Of the five, Molina has the most understated role, playing Ben Weeks, who has an ambivalent relationship with his brother Ned (Best Movie/Mini Actor contender Mark Ruffalo). He has no previous Emmy nominations despite numerous TV credits, but he’s an admired veteran, and that often goes a long way with Emmy voters.
Do you think all five men will earn Emmy nominations? Respond in our poll below, then make your Emmy predictions and discuss their chances in our forums.