Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) recently won the 2016 Emmy for Best Drama Actor in a tight race. He was able to do so even after losing the Golden Globe (to Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”) and the SAG Award (to Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”) several months earlier. But now that the television academy has anointed him, what are Malek’s chances of picking up more hardware for his role as activist hacker Elliot?
The Golden Globes love to award new shows and their breakout stars. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association prides themselves on being first, as they were with past Best TV Drama Actor champs Kiefer Sutherland (“24,” 2001); Hugh Laurie (“House,” 2005); Jon Hamm (“Mad Men,” 2007) and Kelsey Grammer (“Boss,” 2011). But they also do not like it when they’re the only ones who haven’t rewarded an individual: case in point, Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”), who won in 2013 on his fourth try after the rest of the industry had already declared him TV kingpin.
There’s plenty of precedent for the rewarding Malek the year after his breakthrough. When Grammer won in 2011 it was at the expense of the eventual Emmy champion that year, Damian Lewis (“Homeland”), so the following year the Globes self-corrected and Lewis won.
When the Globes finally awarded Cranston in 2013 they went against their usual trend of rewarding new shows and performers, so the next year they once again looked back and awarded Kevin Spacey for year two of “House of Cards” (2014).
Then Jon Hamm finally won his long overdue Emmy for Best Drama Actor for “Mad Men” (2015) on his last try, and the Globes rode the wave of nostalgia and awarded him again. He had already won for the first season of “Mad Men,” but he didn’t get the opportunity to make an acceptance speech the first time around because the Golden Globes telecast was cancelled due to the writer’s strike.
Which brings us to Malek. He was an also-ran last year as the result of Hamm’s farewell victory. If he were to win on his second try he would follow Lewis and Dennis Franz (“NYPD Blue,” 1994) by winning a belated Globe for season two of his show following an Emmy win for season one. However, both Franz and Lewis’s shows were also nominated for Best TV Drama Series, while “Mr. Robot” is not this year. Does that put Malek at a disadvantage?
Maybe not. None of his competitors’ shows were nominated for Best Drama either. And according to Gold Derby’s odds Malek is currently in first place with odds of 4/9. But he will need to look out for Billy Bob Thornton, an Oscar winner and a past Golden Globe winner (Best TV Movie/Mini Actor for “Fargo,” 2014), for his new Amazon show “Goliath”; his odds have him within striking distance at 5/1.
The SAG Awards on the other hand are usually less hospitable to new shows. It can take a year or more for an actor to gain their first nomination, so many have followed up their Emmy win with their first SAG Award. In the Best TV Drama Actor category, this has occurred once before: the inaugural SAG winner, Franz (1994), had won the Emmy a few months earlier. He would go on to win a second SAG Award again in 1996.
On the TV Drama Actress side, Claire Danes (“Homeland”) won the Emmy in 2012 for season one, then won for season two at the SAG Awards the following January. In the Best TV Comedy Actor race Tony Shalhoub (“Monk”) did the same, winning Emmy for his first season in 2003, and then taking SAG on his second try a few months later. And the same thing happened to Jeffrey Tambor (“Transparent”): he was snubbed entirely by SAG when his show premiered in 2014, but when he won the Emmy for that debut season in September 2015, SAG made it up to him immediately thereafter by awarding him for the show’s second season.
For Best TV Comedy Actress, Felicity Huffman (“Desperate Housewives”) was snubbed by SAG when her show debuted in 2004, but after she won the Emmy in 2005 she immediately followed it with a SAG victory. Julia Louis-Dreyfus had to win two Emmys for “Veep” (2012-2013) before SAG took notice and awarded her for the show’s second season. And SAG didn’t notice Uzo Aduba (“Orange is the New Black”) until right after she won her first Emmy in 2014.
Currently Malek is sitting in second place in our SAG predictions with odds of 3/2 behind John Lithgow (“The Crown”). Wouldn’t that be ironic, if Malek were to be bested by an actor on a first-year show.
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