2017 Drama Actor Emmy predictions slugfest: Will vote-splitting hurt Sterling K. Brown & Milo Ventimiglia? [WATCH]

“I am currently predicting …” Gold Derby senior editor Rob Licuria pauses during our recent webcam slugfest (watch above). “Anthony Hopkins,” he blurts out, unsure about who is out front in what once again is a highly competitive category. Joining Licuria to analyze the Best Drama Actor Emmy race in detail are Gold Derby contributing writers Charles BrightRiley Chow, Zach Laws, Tony Ruiz and Amanda Spears. The nominees in this category are:

Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us” – “Memphis”
Anthony Hopkins, “Westworld” – “Trompe L’Oeil”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul” – “Expenses”
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans” – “Crossbreed”
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan” – “Rattus Rattus”
Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards” – “Chapter 53”
Milo Ventimiglia, “This Is Us” – “Moonshadow”

SEE 2017 Emmy nominations list: All the nominees

Laws agrees that Hopkins is most likely the guy to beat because the double nominees from “This is Us” cancel each other out. “The worst thing to happen to Sterling K. Brown was Milo Ventimiglia getting nominated in this category,” Laws says. “He is the biggest name in the category and is also just the classy actor and the veteran actor and by the way, they only have one chance to reward this guy.”

Spears agrees that Hopkins is most likely. “He’s just so well respected,” she argues. But Spears thinks that all is not lost for the “This is Us” guys, as “Milo and Sterling K. Brown are out on their own in their respective episodes,. They’re not in each other’s episodes, well not enough that it might sway someone one way or the other and it might counteract vote-splitting.”

“If I was going on episodes, I would be giving this to Milo Ventimiglia and I wouldn’t be thinking twice about it,” Ruiz declares. “His performance in that finale episode was so heartbreaking. It ticks all of the boxes of a great Emmy submission.”

Chow is not convinced about Hopkins or the dreaded vote-splitting. “I don’t think Hopkins has much of a chance and I have him in fifth,” he says. “The Emmys are not really sympathetic to the people that have everything. They’re recognizing people that are over due like Regina King or Margo Martindale, or your breakout characters like Tatiana Maslany or Rami Malek, of people that they love in their role, like Ben Mendelsohn,” he explains.

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