Emmy spotlight: Connor Jessup is standout of ‘American Crime’ season two

While there is a bounty of competition in the Limited Series/Movie acting categories, there is a standout on ABC’s “American Crime“: Connor Jessup. Please excuse my bad pun but it would be a crime not to nominate his performance.

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Jessup plays Taylor Blaine, a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks attending the exclusive Leyland Academy on a scholarship. After attending a party thrown by the basketball team, he suspects he has been sexually assaulted. The justice system and the school turn their backs on him, which leads to tragic consequences.

The young actor, who hails from Canada, was a regular on the sci-fi series “Falling Skies” and headlined the hit indie film “Closet Monster.” He holds his own among the stellar cast of the sophmore season of the anthology series.

Among these are four returning players from last year who contended at the Emmys: Best Supporting Actress winner Regina King, leads Felicity Huffman and Timothy Hutton, and supporting actor Richard Cabral. Among the newcomers this year are character actresses Lilli Taylor and Hope Davis as well as André Benjamin.

Current frontrunners in the competitive TV Movie/Limited Series Supporting Actor race include: Oscar champ Chris Cooper (“11.22.63”), two-time Oscar nominee John Travolta (“The People v. O.J. Simpson”), two-time Emmy winner Ted Danson (“Fargo”), past category champ Martin Freeman (“Sherlock: The Abominable Bride”) and Tony winner Denis O’Hare (“American Horror Story: Hotel”) 

Lets review the pros and cons of this newcomer breaking into such a crowded field. 

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His character is at the center of the storyline. 

As with King’s winning ways last year, Jessup delivers a subdued yet heartbreaking performance that emerges as this season’s breakout. 

A rule change allows nominees to submit an episode. Even before the season comes to an end he has an outstanding one with episode eight. His character tired of feeling like a victim and reeling from what he’s been through takes matters into his own hands.

This category tends to reward veterans; at just 22 Jessup might be seen as too young to be taken seriously.

Voters may consider Jessup’s performance too understated and quiet to recognize.

“Fargo” and “The People v. OJ Simpson” could dominate this category: “Fargo” also has in contention Bokeem Woodbine and Nick Offerman while “The People v. OJ Simpson” has Sterling K. Brown, Nathan Lane and David Schwimmer.


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Photo: “American Crime” (ABC)

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