The Emmy race for Best Movie/Mini Actress is one of the closest of the year. It’s so jam-packed that it puts many Oscar races to shame. But according to the Experts we’ve polled for a number of top media outlets, the contest has narrowed to a two-way race between Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”) and two-time Oscar winner Jessica Lange (“Feud: Bette and Joan”). With nominations to be announced soon on July 13, the race is still too close to call.
As of this writing, Lange still has a very slight edge with support from 10 Experts: Eric Deggans (NPR), Lynn Elber (Associated Press), Bonnie Fuller (Hollywood Life), Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Ken Tucker (Yahoo) and Adnan Virk (ESPN).
In addition to her two Oscars for “Tootsie” (Best Supporting Actress, 1983) and “Blue Sky” (Best Actress, 1995), Lange has also been a favorite of Emmy voters, winning three times out of her seven nominations. She claimed Best Movie/Mini Actress twice, for “Grey Gardens” (2009) and “American Horror Story: Coven” (2014). And she won Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress for “American Horror Story: Murder House” (2012). The “Horror Story” franchise was created by Ryan Murphy, as is “Feud,” so this collaboration has already proved fruitful for Lange. It doesn’t hurt that Lange plays a recognizable real-life figure, film icon Joan Crawford. Since 2009, four women have won this category for playing real people, including Lange’s victory for “Grey Gardens.”
Kidman is still very close behind with nine Experts backing her: Michael Ausiello (TVLine), Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Pete Hammond (Deadline), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Glenn Whipp (LA Times) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).
Kidman won her Oscar for “The Hours” (Best Actress, 2003), and she has also been nominated three more times, including a Best Supporting Actress bid this past year for “Lion.” In addition, Kidman can currently be seen in a new film by Sofia Coppola, “The Beguiled.” So Emmy voters might wish to reward her for the strength of her year overall in addition to her acclaimed performance in “Big Little Lies” as a wife and mother who is the victim of domestic abuse. Kidman has one previous Emmy nomination in this category for the telefilm “Hemingway & Gellhorn” (2012), but she has never won. That could give her a boost if voters feel that Lange has been duly awarded and want to spread the wealth.
But one last Expert, Robert Rorke (New York Post) thinks Lange’s co-star Susan Sarandon could pull off an upset for playing Joan Crawford’s longtime rival Bette Davis. Like Lange, Sarandon has the benefit of playing a recognizable real-life figure. Like Kidman, she’s looking for her first Emmy victory (Sarandon has four previous bids). And like both of them, she’s an admired, Oscar winning movie star (Best Actress for “Dead Man Walking,” 1996). So could we be underestimating her? That’s a distinct possibility, though she could be hurt by the fact that Lange has a showier role. And there’s a possibility that Lange and Sarandon could split the vote, which is a distinct possibility under the new voting system.
Kidman could also split the vote with her co-star Reese Witherspoon. If that happens, watch out for a potential upset victory by an actor who would be the sole nominee for her project, like Carrie Coon (“Fargo”), Oprah Winfrey (“The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks”), or Bryce Dallas Howard (“Black Mirror”).
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on July 13. Join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. And visit our home page for the latest in entertainment news.