Emmy episode analysis: Will ‘Masters of Sex’ guest role win Beau Bridges a fourth award?

beau bridges masters of sex parallax barton scully entertainment 13579086 story

Will second time be the charm for “Masters of Sex” recurring player Beau Bridges? He was nominated last year for playing Provost Barton Scully on the inaugural season of this Showtime drama but lost out to Joe Morton (“Scandal”). His episode submission in this year’s Best Drama Guest Actor race is “Parallax,” the emotional Season 2 premiere of this period piece.

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SYNOPSIS: Barton Scully, Provost of Washington University, asks Bill Masters if he’ll drive him home after the procedure, since his wife doesn’t know he’s there. Barton then goes in for drastic electroshock therapy in order to try to cure his homosexuality. He wakes up later with mild amnesia, having no memory of the therapy at first, and vomits on Bill’s suit.

At home, Barton looks at male pornography in order to get in the mood, and then tries to have sex with Margaret (Allison Janney). “Stop fighting me on this,” he says to her as they’re emotional over their broken marriage. Soon after, he watches his wife and daughter leave for the day and then goes down into the basement and tries to hang himself. They return just in time to cut him down and save his life.

Can this Emmy champ win his first trophy for this role for “Parallax”? Let’s consider the pros and cons:


As Bridges is already a three-time Emmy winner (Movie/Mini Actor for “Without Warning: The James Brady Story” in 1992 and Movie/Mini Supporting Actor for both “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom” in 1993 and “The Second Civil War” in 1997), the idea of him winning again is easy to foresee.

Of the six Drama Guest Actor contenders, Bridges easily gives the most emotional, impactful performance, particularly in the dramatic climax when he tries to take his own life.

Not only does Bridges get the emotional scenes, but he also has the physical moments at the beginning of the hour when he undergoes electroshock therapy and then gets mild amnesia. It’s the kind of role actors dream of playing.


Since his last Emmy victory in 1997, Bridges has been nominated a whopping nine times without a win. That begs the question, are voters simply nominating him year after year because of name recognition and not because they actually love his performances?

“Masters of Sex” was thought to be a major Emmy contender this year, but it only netted a trio of nominations for Bridges, Janney and Best Production Design. Will lack of support for Season 2 hurt its chances of winning?

Many awards watchers thought Bridges should have won last year for his role as the closeted Provost, so maybe Emmy voters just don’t feel a connection to this character.

Emmys 2015: Complete List of Episode Submissions

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