Will ‘Fargo’ break Emmy curse for ‘Parks and Recreation’ star Nick Offerman?

Nick Offerman has long been a fan-favorite, earning five Gold Derby TV Award nominations for his performance as the stoic and put-upon Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation.” Yet somehow Emmy Awards voters never warmed to him. He now has another chance to break through thanks to his portrayal of Karl Weathers (no relation to the original Apollo Creed actor BTW), the bombastic, often inebriated lawyer in season two of FX’s “Fargo.” Offerman’s unique line readings and facial expressions work well on this show where characters aren’t necessarily supposed to be funny but instead are just a little off-center.

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Critics have already taken notice of Offerman, with Kevin P. Sullivan of Entertainment Weekly saying that “Fargo” is “the perfect showcase for Offerman, who is so much more than Ron Swanson.” And Ken Tucker of Yahoo includes Offerman among a cast he labels “wonderful.” Not surprisingly, Offerman earned a Critics’ Choice TV Award nomination.

Offerman faces tough competition in his category of Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor. Besides his costars Jesse Plemons and Emmy favorite Ted Danson, there are all those competitors from the all-star cast of FX’s “The People v. O.J. Simpson.”

However, Emmy voters have frequently nominated sitcom actors who took on more serious fare. That trend can be traced back to Edward Asner claiming Emmys as a dramatic actor for “Rich Man, Poor Man” (1976) and the original “Roots” (1977) after three wins for playing Lou Grant on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” (1971, 1972, 1975). More recently “The Big Bang Theory” funnyman Jim Parsons earned a nomination in 2014 for his role in “The Normal Heart.” While he lost that race to Martin Freeman (“Sherlock), he picked up his fourth Best Comedy Actor award that night, following wins in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

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Perhaps Emmy voters will take this opportunity to not only acknowledge Offerman for his new role but also throw a bone to all those “Parks and Recreation” fans who were perennially disappointed by Offerman’s previous omissions.

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