Emmy experts: Momentum shifting to Robert De Niro for Best Movie/Mini Actor as voting looms

Riz Ahmed (“The Night Of”) is still the Emmy frontrunner for Best Movie/Mini Actor when you combine the predictions of everyone at Gold Derby. However, according to the Experts, momentum has shifted to Robert De Niro (“The Wizard of Lies”).

Currently eight experts are predicting De Niro to win: Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Pete Hammond (Deadline), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Ken Tucker (Yahoo) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).

De Niro ticks a lot of the right boxes for Emmy voters. He’s an Oscar winning movie star playing a biographical role, disgraced financier Bernie Madoff. Seven of the last nine winners in this category played real people, and seven of the last 10 were Academy Award nominees or winners. Also, like Ahmed, De Niro represents HBO, which has long been a heavyweight in longform categories at the Emmys, winning this category five times in the last 10 years.

But seven experts are still betting on Ahmed: Bonnie Fuller (Hollywood Life), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Adnan Virk (ESPN) and Glenn Whipp (LA Times). This would be the first nomination and win for Ahmed, who is also known for roles in the films “Nightcrawler” and “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

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The rest of our experts are split. Eric Deggans (NPR) gives the edge to John Turturro (“The Night Of”). Turturro has only been nominated once before at the Emmys, but the first time was the charm: he won Best Comedy Guest Actor for “Monk” in 2004.

Robert Rorke (New York Post) is currently predicting Geoffrey Rush (“Genius”) for his role as Albert Einstein. Like De Niro, Rush has the benefit of playing a real person, but unlike De Niro, who has never been nominated for an Emmy, Rush is already familiar to TV academy voters. He won this category back in 2005 for playing another famous 20th century figure: actor Peter Sellers in “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.” However, “Genius” airs on the National Geographic Channel, which doesn’t have as high an awards profile as HBO.

Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine) is betting on a victory for Ewan McGregor (“Fargo”) for his dual role as twin brothers in FX’s anthology series “Fargo.” Emmy voters love actors playing multiple roles — consider Toni Collette and her alternate personalities in “United States of Tara” (Best Comedy Actress, 2009) or Tatiana Maslany and her myriad clones in “Orphan Black” (Best Drama Actress, 2016). Also, “Fargo” is already a proven winner, claiming five Emmys for its first two seasons, including Best Limited Series in 2014. And McGregor has been on the TV academy’s radar before, earning a bid for Best Drama Guest Actor for “ER” (1997). But “Fargo” has yet to win an acting award despite eight nominations.

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No experts are predicting a win for any other contenders, but 14 out of 18 anticipate another nomination for Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock: The Lying Detective”). The fourth season of “Sherlock,” which aired in January, is likely the show’s last, and Cumberbatch has been nominated three times before for playing this modern-day version of the British detective, winning in 2014. Cumberbatch also earned a bid in this race for “Parade’s End” (2013), so it’s best not to underestimate him.

Seven experts think Jude Law will earn a nomination for playing the title character in “The Young Pope.” Law is primarily a film actor, so he has never contended for an Emmy before. But he’s a respected, Oscar nominated star in a prestigious production created by Paolo Sorrentino, who directed the Oscar winning foreign film “The Great Beauty” (2013), so Law has plenty of the snob appeal that Emmy voters typically love.

Michael Gambon (“Churchill’s Secret”) will be nominated according to two experts. He plays famed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in the film, which chronicles the stroke he kept secret from the world. Playing Churchill has won Emmys in this category for Albert Finney (“The Gathering Storm,” 2002) and Brendan Gleeson (“Into the Storm,” 2009), and the role could win another Emmy this year for Best Drama Supporting Actor contender John Lithgow in “The Crown.” Gambon has been nominated once before for playing a world leader: US President Lyndon Johnson in “Path to War.” But “Churchill’s Secret” aired on PBS way back in September, so it’ll be a question of whether enough TV academy members saw the telefilm, or if it was under their radar.

One expert apiece is forecasting a nomination for Toby Jones (“Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution”) and Ricky Gervais (“David Brent: Life on the Road”). Jones could get an added boost since voters will also be watching him as the villain in “Sherlock: The Lying Detective.”

Watch Our Interviews with Best Movie/Mini Actor Contenders:
Riz Ahmed | Ricky Gervais | Timothy Hutton | Tim Matheson | Guy Pearce | Geoffrey Rush | John Turturro

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