The Emmy race for Best Movie/Mini Actor is filled with award-winning movie stars. The TV academy loves to reward actors from the big screen who bring their prestige to the small screen, but in this year’s race there’s one relative newcomer who could upset the balance against the veterans.
Be sure to make your own predictions in this race as well as the rest of the Primetime Emmy categories and compete against our Emmy experts who cover this race year-round for such leading media outlets, as well as the two dozen amateurs who ranked in the top 24 last year, the all-stars who did well for two years in a row, and thousands of Emmy fans just like you. (Scroll down to see up-to-date racetrack odds derived from all of these predictions.)
Breakthrough actor Riz Ahmed and his co-star John Turturro are both nominated for their roles as a murder suspect and his defense attorney in “The Night Of,” respectively. Turturro is a film and TV veteran with credits including “Quiz Show,” “The Big Lebowski,” and his Emmy winning guest role in “Monk.” But Ahmed is only recently coming to the attention of Hollywood voters thanks to recent roles in “Nightcrawler,” “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story,” and “The OA” in addition to “The Night Of,” which is nominated 13 times including twice more in the Movie/Mini Supporting Actor race, which shows that the academy’s actors branch is especially fond of the show. But Ahmed and Turturro are the only co-stars from the same project in this category, so they both run the risk of splitting the vote under the new voting system.
If Ahmed and Turturro do cancel each other out, voters have a couple of Oscar winners to choose from. Robert De Niro is nominated for the HBO telefilm “The Wizard of Lies,” in which he plays real-life con artist Bernie Madoff. He’s an acting veteran with two Academy Award wins out of seven nominations, but he’s never been nominated for an Emmy until now. In addition to his nom in this category, he also contends for Best TV Movie as a producer of “Wizard,” but the film only received four total nominations, which may indicate limited support for it overall.
Geoffrey Rush is also an Oscar champ. He’s an Emmy champ too, having won this category back in 2005 for playing the title role in “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.” Now he’s playing another famous figure, Albert Einstein, in “Genius.” The National Geographic anthology series has 10 total nominations, so it has widespread support from the TV academy, but Rush is its only acting nominee, so it’s hard to say how much support it has from the actors branch that will decide this category. Then again, being the only acting nominee also means that voters from that branch who want to honor “Genius” will focus their support around Rush.
Benedict Cumberbatch (“Sherlock: The Lying Detective”) is a past Oscar nominee, but more importantly he’s a TV academy favorite with more Emmy nominations than anyone else in this category. This is his fifth bid in in the last six years, and it’s his fourth for “Sherlock,” so we know Emmy voters love him in this role. He won in 2014 for “Sherlock: His Last Vow,” and he also has one other nomination in this category for “Parade’s End.” “Sherlock” has lost Emmy momentum in recent years, and in 2017 it’s only up for four awards total, but it did pull off an upset victory for Best TV Movie last year, which indicates that there is still passionate support for it in the TV academy.
Rounding out the category is Ewan McGregor for playing dual roles in the latest season of the anthology series “Fargo.” Emmy voters love actors playing multiple characters or personalities — see also: Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”), Toni Collette (“United States of Tara”), and Sally Field (“Sybil”) — and that’s not all. “Fargo” also has more nominations than any other program represented in this category (16), which shows an abundance of support from the academy. “Fargo” has yet to win an acting award despite eight previous nominations, but maybe playing twins will finally do the trick.
UPDATED: August 24, 2017
1. Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of” — 10/11
2. Robert De Niro, “The Wizard of Lies” — 23/10
3. Geoffey Rush, “Genius” — 11/1
4. Ewan McGregor, “Fargo” — 16/1
5. Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: The Lying Detective” — 50/1
6. John Turturro, “The Night Of” — 50/1