Will Tom Hiddleston romance with Taylor Swift hurt his Emmy chances for ‘The Night Manager’?

Tom Hiddleston seems like a lock for an Emmy Award nomination for his work in AMC’s “The Night Manager,” which won acclaim when it aired in both the U.K. and the U.S. However, his level of respectability has taken a hit the last few weeks with tabloid photos of him cavorting with Taylor Swift and her posse of young gal pals. “Hiddleswift” didn’t make headlines until the last few days of Emmy voting, so he should reap a bid but what will this mean to his chance of winning?

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The photos — including one where he’s wearing a T-shirt that reads “I Heart Taylor Swift” — and relationship have caused a stir in the British press and online. Reaction has ranged from jealousy toward Swift for snagging the popular British bachelor, to accusations that this is just a PR stunt to aid Hiddleston in his quest to play James Bond, to this being just another in a long line of staged events Swift engages in to promote her recording career. Some fans and critics even seem fearful that the serious young actor will tarnish his image with the PR mess.

The controversy has come at a strange time in his career. Hiddleston seems on the verge of receiving his first major American award nomination and while most of the voting was completed before this brouhaha, should he be nominated it is a good question how this incident will affect his reputation as a serious actor. Some online detractors have compared the controversy to the one that hit Richard Burton in the 60s when the serious Shakespearen actor and heir apparent to Laurence Olivier began a highly publicized romance with his “Cleopatra” star Elizabeth Taylor.

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Hiddleston has emerged in recent years alongside Benedict Cumberbatch and Eddie Redmayne as part of a new wave of British actors. Hiddleston had a seemingly effortless rise to stardom, graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2005 and quickly establishing himself as an award-winning stage actor. He quickly transitioned to TV and film and found breakthrough success as Loki in the Marvel comic movies.

Unlike Cumberbatch and Redmayne, who have gone on to Emmy and Oscar nominations or wins, Hiddleston has struggled a bit in recent years to find a respected lead role in a movie. His three films released last year were not particularly acclaimed, including “I Saw the Light,” a biopic of singer Hank Williams that had Oscar bait written all over it as the academy loves films about the personal travails of country singers.

Sadly when Hiddleston seemed on the verge of an awards breakthrough with “The Night Manager,” this PR mishap has colored his press image. Odds are Hiddleston will still be nominated this week but his chance of winning has probably slipped. The talented actor will have to work a little harder to avoid being seen as a tabloid Kardashian-esque celebrity. Perhaps a quick trip back to the British stage and some Shakespeare may be just the thing he needs?

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