Emmy experts: Ron Cephas Jones (‘This Is Us’) & Ed Harris (‘Westworld’) are strong rookies in Drama Supporting Actor

While the bulk of our Emmy experts are convinced that John Lithgow (“The Crown”) will win Best Drama Supporting Actor, they also warn to watch out for two other strong competitors: Ron Cephas Jones (“This Is Us”) and Ed Harris (“Westworld”). Lithgow is already a five-time champ for “Amazing Stories” (1986), “3rd Rock From the Sun” (1996, 1997, 1999) and “Dexter” (2010), while both Jones and Harris are looking for their first Emmy triumphs this year.

As of this writing we’ve polled 18 TV journalists from top media outlets and 14 of them predict a victory for Lithgow for his role as Prime Minister Winston Churchill on Netflix’s regal drama. They are: Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Eric Deggans (NPR), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Bonnie Fuller (Hollywood Life), Pete Hammond (Deadline), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (Indiewire), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Ken Tucker (Yahoo) and Adnan Virk (ESPN).

Two of our Emmy experts are betting on an upset victory for Jones: Robert Rorke (New York Post) and Glenn Whipp (Los Angeles Times). NBC’s family drama “This Is Us” was the breakout hit of the season, with Jones playing the cancer-stricken biological father of Sterling K. Brown‘s Randall. This would be Jones’ first awards notice after decades working in film and television.

The remaining two pundits — Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed) — forecast that Harris will prevail. The film star has a pair of Emmy nominations on his resume for “Empire Falls” (2005) and “Game Change” (2012), but this would be his first bid for a regular TV series gig. Harris plays the mysterious Man in Black on HBO’s “Westworld,” whose true identity was revealed in the season finale.

None of our experts are currently predicting a victory for any other Best Drama Supporting Actor hopefuls, but all 18 believe that Jonathan Banks, who plays hired gun Mike Ehrmantraut on “Better Call Saul,” will earn another bid. He’s already in the Emmy record book for being nominated in this category for three different series: “Better Call Saul” in 2015 and 2016, “Breaking Bad” in 2013, and “Wiseguy” in 1989.

Harris’ co-star Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”) is next in line with 15 Emmy seers believing he’ll be nominated for taking on the complex character of Bernard. Wright prevailed at the Emmys and Golden Globes for his supporting turn in “Angels in America” (2003), so he’s clearly an industry favorite.

Nine Emmy journalists have Michael Kelly getting nominated for his role as White House chief of staff Doug Stamper on Netflix’s “House of Cards.” The new season just debuted on May 30, which puts the two-time nominee top of mind when voters begin marking their Emmy ballots.

Oscar winner Jon Voight (“Coming Home”) is predicted to return to the Emmy race by nine experts. The four-time also-ran (“Uprising” in 2002, “Pope John Paul II” in 2006, “Ray Donovan” in 2014 and 2016) hopes to have better luck this time around for the Showtime drama.

Jared Harris (“The Crown”), though technically a guest star, must compete in the supporting race because he appeared in too many episodes to quality for the guest category. Five Emmy pundits predict he’ll earn another nomination in this category after his 2012 bid for “Mad Men.”

Last year’s surprise Best Drama Supporting Actor winner Ben Mendelsohn (“Bloodline”) is back again for the final season of “Bloodline.” However, only four prognosticators think he’ll earn a repeat bid for playing the deceased Danny Rayburn, the perennial black sheep of a Florida keys family.

Rounding out the potential nominees, a trio of men have the support of two experts apiece: David Harbour (“Stranger Things”), Jeffrey Dean Morgan (“The Walking Dead”) and Frank Langella (“The Americans”). While Harbour and Morgan are looking for their first major notices, Langella is a Hollywood veteran with a Best Actor Oscar nomination for “Frost/Nixon” (2008) and an Emmy bid for “I, Leonardo: A Journey of the Mind” (1983).

Predict the Emmy nominees now; change them until July 13

Be sure to make your Emmy predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our Emmy odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before nominees are announced on July 13. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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