According to Gold Derby’s 2017 Emmy predictions for Best Drama Actor, Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”) is in fifth place with 4/1 odds to win his second trophy following last year’s victory for “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” But if you ask me, those early odds don’t accurately reflect the amount of industry love that’s currently out there for Brown, and so I’m one of the few who’s predicting him for an Emmy upset. Below, see my Top 4 reasons why I’m so confident that Brown will win Best Drama Actor, and then have your say by sounding off in the comments section.
1. “This Is Us” is the new “Modern Family”
Network TV hasn’t had a major series victory at the Emmy Awards since ABC’s “Modern Family,” an unconventional family program that went on to win Best Comedy Series five times in a row (2010-2014). NBC’s “This Is Us,” another family show on network television, is receiving similar acclaim from fans, critics and precursor awards over on the drama side. While many people think the Emmys have moved on from the big four networks, I would counter by saying there just hasn’t been a quality drama worthy to compete. Until now. Brown plays breakout character Randall Pearson on the buzzy drama and should be rewarded not just for his emotional performance, but also as the face of the entire series.
2. Rising star
Emmy voters love being on the cusp of rewarding rising stars, just as they did for Melissa McCarthy (“Mike & Molly”) in 2011 prior to her becoming a household name, or Bryan Cranston (2008) for the first season of “Breaking Bad” before that show was a hit. Brown is Hollywood’s “it” guy, ever since he came onto the scene for his Emmy-winning role of Chris Darden in “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” Brown doesn’t just have “This Is Us” in his pocket, but he’s also about to be a movie star with the upcoming films “Marshall,” “Black Panther” and “The Predator.”
3. It’s time
Amazingly, Brown would be the first African-American nominee in this category since Andre Braugher (“Gideon’s Crossing”) in 2001, and the first to win since Braugher (“Homicide: Life on the Street”) way back in 1998. Last year Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) became the first-ever Egyptian-American champ, making him and Braugher two of only four people of color to win Best Drama Actor in its 64-year history. The others were James Earl Jones for “Gabriel’s Fire” (1991) and Bill Cosby for “I Spy” (1966-1968). In the post-Trump world that we live in, it’s time for the Emmys to be more inclusive.
4. No major competitor
Speaking of Malek, who’s currently the frontrunner to win this race, fans and critics were tough on the second season of “Mr. Robot.” The lack of support could hurt Malek’s chances of repeating as Best Drama Actor. And since the other major contenders like Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”), Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”), Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”) and Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”) have all been nominated and lost for these roles before, that opens the door for someone new to break through. Since Brown earned a SAG nomination earlier this year for “This Is Us,” that suggests the industry is eager to reward this role.
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. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums.