Emmy predictions: Sorry Jessica Lange, but Nicole Kidman just took the lead on the eve of nominations

Emmy nominations are announced on Thursday, July 13, and as everyone at Gold Derby anxiously rearranges deck chairs on the Titanic — er, I mean, updates their predictions — there has been a dramatic shift in one of the year’s most anticipated races: Nicole Kidman (“Big Little Lies”) just took the lead away from Jessica Lange (“Feud: Bette and Joan”) in the race for Best Movie/Mini Actress.

We’ve polled 20 Experts from top media outlets for their Emmy picks, and as recently as the Fourth of July Lange enjoyed a narrow lead over her close rival. But not so anymore. Now a majority of Experts (11 out of 20) are predicting a victory for Kidman: Michael Ausiello (TVLine), Debra Birnbaum (Variety), Eric Deggans (NPR), Joyce Eng (TV Guide), Pete Hammond (Deadline), Matthew Jacobs (Huffington Post), Lynette Rice (Entertainment Weekly), Paul Sheehan (Gold Derby), Anne Thompson (IndieWire), Glenn Whipp (LA Times) and Jarett Wieselman (Buzzfeed).

Kidman plays Celeste Wright, a high-powered lawyer who gave up her career to parent her children, but whose husband (Alexander Skarsgard) turns out to be violently abusive. The actress earned raves for her performance, but that’s not her only advantage in this contest. She’s also in the midst of a great year in her career overall, including her fourth Oscar nomination (Best Supporting Actress for “Lion”). In addition, Kidman can currently be seen in a new film by Sofia Coppola, “The Beguiled.” So Emmy voters might wish to reward her for the strength of her year overall. Kidman has one previous Emmy nomination in this category for the telefilm “Hemingway & Gellhorn” (2012), but she has never won. That could give her another boost if voters feel that Lange has been duly awarded and want to spread the wealth.

But Lange isn’t out of it. She still has support from eight Experts: Lynn Elber (Associated Press), Bonnie Fuller (Hollywood Life), Kerr Lordygan (Rotten Tomatoes), Tom O’Neil (Gold Derby), Matt Roush (TV Guide Magazine), Peter Travers (Rolling Stone), Ken Tucker (Yahoo) and Adnan Virk (ESPN).

In addition to her two Oscars for “Tootsie” (Best Supporting Actress, 1983) and “Blue Sky” (Best Actress, 1995), Lange has also been a favorite of Emmy voters, winning three times out of her seven nominations. She claimed Best Movie/Mini Actress twice, for “Grey Gardens” (2009) and “American Horror Story: Coven” (2014). And she won Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress for “American Horror Story: Murder House” (2012). The “Horror Story” franchise was created by Ryan Murphy, as is “Feud,” so this collaboration has already proven fruitful for Lange. It doesn’t hurt that Lange plays a recognizable real-life figure, film icon Joan Crawford. Since 2009, four women have won this category for playing real people, including Lange’s victory for “Grey Gardens.” And starring in a true Hollywood story like “Feud” may especially appeal to the industry insiders who vote for the Emmys.

Robert Rorke (New York Post) is the sole holdout forecasting an upset victory for Lange’s co-star Susan Sarandon as Crawford’s rival Bette Davis. Like Lange, Sarandon has the benefit of playing a recognizable real-life figure. Like Kidman, she’s looking for her first Emmy victory (Sarandon has four previous bids). And like both of them, she’s an admired, Oscar winning movie star (Best Actress for “Dead Man Walking,” 1996).

Be sure to make your Emmy predictionsWeigh 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. Join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. And visit our home page for the latest in entertainment news.

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