The Emmy for Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor is guaranteed to go to someone new. Four of the six nominees have never been nominated before and the other two lost their previous races. Since the Emmys often prefer familiar faces, that could be good news for Hugh Laurie, who is nominated for his villainous performance as an arms dealer in “The Night Manager.” Also counting his nomination as an executive producer of this AMC limited series, Laurie has now been nominated nine times without a victory. But to win this time he’ll have to get past Emmy rookie Sterling K. Brown (“The People v. O.J. Simpson”), who is the favorite to win according to the expert TV journalists we’ve polled so far.
Ten out of 13 experts are betting on Brown, giving him leading 10-to-11 odds: Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), 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).
One expert, Eric Deggans (NPR), is predicting another first-time Emmy contender: Jesse Plemons (“Fargo”), who ranks second overall in our experts’ predictions with 23/10 odds. Plemons may be more familiar to Emmy voters than Brown thanks to his roles in Best Drama Series nominee “Friday Night Lights” and two-time Best Drama champ “Breaking Bad.” Plemons also won Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor at the Critics’ Choice Awards this past January for his performance, though those critics kudos only honored TV that aired between June 1 and December 31, so “The Night Manager” and “People v. O.J.” weren’t yet eligible.
Laurie actually ranks third with 12/5 odds, based on support from one expert: Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post). Will the TV academy really deny Laurie yet again? His first seven nominations included six for Best Drama Actor as the irascible title doctor in “House” and one Best Drama Series bid as a producer of that series. But his “Night Manager” character, Richard Roper, is a mustache-twirling villain, the kind Emmy voters often love (like Bryan Cranston in “Breaking Bad” and John Lithgow in “Dexter”). On “House” he was often unlikable, but not in the kind of grand, theatrical way voters prefer; if you want to win for playing a baddie, it helps to go the full “Macbeth.”
Brown, Plemons and Laurie face additional actors from “People v. O.J.” and “Fargo.” Two of Brown’s “O.J.” co-stars contend, including acting vet John Travolta — who is predicted to win by Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), giving him 6/1 odds — and David Schwimmer, who is an underdog with 40/1 despite having a past Emmy nom for “Friends” (Best Comedy Supporting Actor, 1995).
Rounding out the category is Plemons’s “Fargo” co-star Bokeem Woodbine. Woodbine was nominated at the Critics’ Choice Awards alongside Plemons, with Plemons winning. Woodbine also trails in this rade, getting 20/1 odds from experts.
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