Sarah Paulson picked up two Emmy nominations this year, bringing her career total to six, though she has yet to win. That’s not quite Angela Lansbury territory (that stage and screen vet has 18 noms without a win), but after losing a couple of races she was forecast to win (in the supporting race for “American Horror Story: Asylum” in 2013 and then “AHS: Freak Show” in 2015), Paulson will finally prevail according to the Expert TV journalists we’ve polled. She’s way out front in the race for Best Movie/Mini Actress for playing prosecutor Marcia Clark in “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”
All 18 of our experts predict Paulson, giving her dominant 1/10 odds: Michael Ausiello (TV Line), Robert Bianco (USA Today), Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Eric Deggans (NPR), Lynn Elber (Associated Press), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Pete Hammond (Deadline Hollywood), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly), 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).
None of our experts are predicting the remaining five nominees, of whom Paulson’s closest competitor is Kirsten Dunst (“Fargo”), who ranks second with 40/1 odds. This is the first Emmy nom for Dunst, who plays Peggy Blumquist, a hairdresser who gets in over her head after she commits a hit-and-run. “Fargo” entered these awards as one of the year’s most nominated programs with 18 (behind “People v. O.J.” with 22 and “Game of Thrones” with 23), so we know there’s plenty of TV academy support for it. Dunst also won Best Movie/Mini Actress at the Critics’ Choice Awards this past January, though “People v. O.J. Simpson” hadn’t aired yet.
In third place with 50/1 odds is Kerry Washington (“Confirmation”), who plays law professor Anita Hill who alleged that she was sexually harassed by Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas during his confirmation hearings. This is Washington’s fourth nomination, counting her bid for Best TV Movie as a producer of “Confirmation.” She was previously nominated twice for Best Drama Actress for “Scandal” (2013-2014).
The two nominees from ABC’s “American Crime” both get 66/1 odds. Felicity Huffman is nominated for playing private school headmaster Leslie Graham, who tries to take control during the investigation of an alleged sexual assault committed by a star athlete. Her co-star Lily Taylor plays Anne Blaine, the mother of the reported victim. This is the fourth Emmy nomination for Huffman and the third for Taylor; Huffman previously won Best Comedy Actress for “Desperate Housewives” (2005), but Taylor has yet to prevail.
Rounding out the category is Audra McDonald (“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill”), who reprises her Tony-winning performance as troubled singer Billie Holiday. McDonald is a six-time Tony-winner, but she has yet to win an Emmy for acting. However, she did win in 2015 for Best Special Class Program as the host of the “Live from Lincoln Center” presentation of “Sweeney Todd,” and she’s been nominated five times at the Emmys overall.
Gold Derby’s Editors, who cover awards year-round, aren’t quite unanimous, but it’s close. Six out of seven of us predict Paulson: O’Neil, Sheehan, Chris Beachum, Rob Licuria, Matt Noble and myself. Marcus James Dixon anticipates an upset victory by Washington.
Our Top 24 Users, who got the highest scores predicting last year’s Emmy winners, also heavily favor Paulson. Twenty-two give her the edge, while the last two are going out on a limb for Dunst.
Our All-Star Top 24, who got the highest scores when you combine Emmy predictions from the last two years, also say it will be Paulson. Eighteen are picking her as the frontrunner, while Washington and Huffman have support from one all-star apiece.
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