Emmy episode analysis: Jon Voight (‘Ray Donovan’) returns to lineup with ‘Kalamazoo’

After being snubbed last year, Jon Voight returns to the Drama Supporting Actor race for “Ray Donovan.” The three-time also ran (Movie/Mini Supporting Actor for “Uprising” in 2002, Movie/Mini Actor for “Pope John Paul II” in 2006, Drama Supporting Actor for “Ray Donovan” in 2014) hopes to have better luck this time around with his Emmy submission, the season opener “Kalamazoo.”

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SYNOPSIS
After Mickey’s (Voight) botched robbery last year, the season premiere finds him living in an apartment complex with some interesting characters. He agrees to assist a prostitute by babysitting her young daughter. With the child in tow he tries to visit his son Terry (Eddie Marsan) who took the fall for him in jail. Back at the apartment complex, Mickey is greeted by his youngest son Daryll (Pooch Hall) as he attempts to reach out to his grandson Conor (Devon Bagby), who reminds him he isn’t allowed to speak with him before hanging up.

His beloved grill the “Kalamazoo” arrives and he throws the apartment complex a barbeque. At the party, Mickey witnesses the prostitute’s pimp treating her roughly in front of her child. After trying to give the pimp some advice on how to treat the women who work with him, Mickey takes drastic action by grinding up a bottle of Xanax into a burger he feeds the pimp. When it’s just the two of them, he pushes the sleeping pimp into the pool and the episode ends as Mickey watches him die. Will Voight’s efforts put him in the winner’s circle? Let’s examine the pros and cons standing in his way:

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PROS
The Emmys have moved away from small panels viewing each episode submission toward a more popular vote. This could help Voight, as he’s a Best Actor Oscar winner (“Coming Home,” 1978) and has been nominated an additional three times by the motion picture acadeemy: “Midnight Cowboy” (lead, 1969), “Runaway Train” (lead, 1985) and “Ali” (supporting, 2001). If this becomes a popularity contest it could favor the Hollywood icon.

“Ray Donovan” premiered two years ago and received one Emmy nomination for its inaugural season for Voight, and one in 2015 for leading man Liev Schreiber. Now, its third season has taken off with five bids: Drama Actor (Schreiber), Drama Supporting Actor (Voight), Drama Guest Actor (Hank Azaria), Drama Directing (“Exsuscito”) and One-Hour Sound Mixing.

Unlike his competition, new episodes of “Ray Donovan” are airing during the voting period, keeping Voight and the show top of mind.

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CONS
When Voight received his first nomination he was coming off a Golden Globe win in the catch-all Supporting Actor in TV category. He no longer has the Globe bounce to help him.

Most actors nominated tend to hang around for a while. But Voight was snubbed last year and it appeared that voters had moved on. How popular is Voight really among the TV academy?

Voight is joined in this category by Michael Kelly (“Hose of Cards”), Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul”), Ben Mendelsohn (“Bloodline”), and Peter Dinklage and Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”). Voight and Mendelsohn are the only two nominees whose shows aren’t nominated for Best Drama Series.

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