After four losses at the Emmy Awards for “Game Change” (2012) and “American Horror Story” (2013-15), will Sarah Paulson finally prevail for “The People v. O.J. Simpson”? She plays embattled prosecutor Marcia Clark in FX’s limited series and has overwhelming support from our Emmy experts drawn from major media outlets to win Best Movie/Mini Actress. (She’s also nominated in the supporting race for “American Horror Story: Hotel.”) Which of Paulson’s competitors has the best chance of pulling off a major Emmys upset?
All 13 expert journalists who’ve piped in with their early Emmy predictions think Paulson will win the lead actress race, which translates to leading 2/7 odds. They are: Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Eric Deggans (NPR), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Matthew Jacobs (HuffPo), Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Robert Rorke (New York Post), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Ken Tucker (Yahoo), Adnan Virk (ESPN) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).
In the battle for second place, 10 experts have Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo”) in that slot following her recent Critics’ Choice Award victory. We know voters are watching “Fargo” as it earned a whopping 18 nominations for FX, just slightly less than the 22 noms for “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” She has 9/2 odds to take down Paulson.
Two other experts have Kerry Washington (“Confirmation”) in their #2 positions, resulting in odds of 9/1. This two-time Emmy nominee for “Scandal” could easily win a popular vote thanks to her real-life (and timely) role as Anita Hill on the HBO telefilm about the controversial swearing-in of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas (played by Wendell Pierce).
Season two of ABC’s “American Crime” reaped two bids in this race: Lili Taylor (20/1 odds) and last year’s contender Felicity Huffman (33/1 odds). Taylor could upset based on the strength of her heralded performance, while Huffman is already an Emmy winner for the first season of “Desperate Housewives” in 2005.
Broadway legend Audra McDonald (“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”) rounds out the category for the HBO adaptation of her Tony-winning play. McDonald won her first Emmy last year for Best Special Class Program for “Live From Lincoln Center,” but has yet to win an acting Emmy despite setting a record of six wins at the Tony Awards. She trails with 40/1 odds.
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