After four losses at the Emmy Awards for “Game Change” (2012) and “American Horror Story” (2013-15), will Sarah Paulson finally prevail for “The People v. O.J. Simpson”? She plays embattled prosecutor Marcia Clark in FX’s limited series and has overwhelming support from our Emmy experts drawn from major media outlets to win Best Movie/Mini Actress. (She’s also nominated in the supporting race for “American Horror Story: Hotel.”) Which of Paulson’s competitors has the best chance of pulling off a major Emmys upset?
All eight expert journalists who’ve piped in with their early Emmy predictions think Paulson will win the lead actress race. They are: Eric Deggans (NPR), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Adnan Virk (ESPN) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).
The battle for second place is fierce, with two leading ladies battling to take down Paulson. Six experts have Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo”) in that slot following her recent Critics’ Choice Award victory. We know voters are watching “Fargo” as it earned a whopping 18 nominations for FX, just slightly less than the 22 noms for “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”
The other two experts have Kerry Washington (“Confirmation”) in their #2 positions. This two-time Emmy nominee for “Scandal” could easily win a popular vote thanks to her real-life (and timely) role as Anita Hill on the HBO telefilm about the controversial swearing-in of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.
Season 2 of ABC’s “American Crime” reaped two bids in this race: last year’s contender Felicity Huffman and new cast member Lili Taylor. Huffman is already an Emmy winner for the first season of “Desperate Housewives” in 2005, while Taylor could upset based on the strength of her heralded performance.
Broadway legend Audra McDonald (“Lady Day at Emersons Bar and Grill”) rounds out the category for the HBO adaptation of her Tony-winning play. McDonald won her first Emmy last year for Best Special Class Program for “Live From Lincoln Center,” but has yet to win an acting Emmy despite setting a record of six wins at the Tony Awards.