Emmy Awards spotlight: Mandy Moore is an unstoppable force on ‘This Is Us’

In the late 1990s and early 2000s you probably remember Mandy Moore ruling the radio airwaves, releasing several albums including two of which went Gold and one Platinum, and even commanding the big screen with “A Walk to Remember” and “Saved.” Now fast-forward to Tuesday night and you’ll see exactly why Moore is currently ruling the TV airwaves with NBC’s “This Is Us” and why she should be in contention for a very different kind of gold: the Emmy Award.

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As the matriarch of TV’s hit drama series, Moore is receiving the best reviews of her acting career, even recently nabbing a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the Best TV Supporting Actress category. You may wonder why supporting if she’s the matriarch, but the show is a true ensemble piece that centers around Moore’s character Rebecca Pearson, her husband Jack (Milo Ventimiglia), and their three kids: Kate (Golden Globe nominee Chrissy Metz), Kevin (Gold Derby Award winner Justin Hartley), and adopted son Randall (Emmy winner Sterling K. Brown).

Tuesday’s episode “The Big Day,” which was made available to Emmy voters as a special “Sneak Peek,” was rather risky, you could say. It was a flashback episode that centered around not just the birth date of Rebecca and Jack’s triplets (though not a single scene from Metz, Hartley or Brown), but also highlighted stories of non-regular characters: the birth doctor (Gerald McRaney) who struggles with the loss of his wife, and the firefighter (Brian Oblak) who would eventually bring Randall to the hospital. The episode worked on all levels, however, thanks to a powerhouse performance by Moore.

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Moore juggles a roller coaster of emotions in the hour: funny when Rebecca realizes none of her shoes fit her inflated feet anymore; mad when she just wants Jack to leave her alone; sad when she recognizes she kicked Jack out of the house on his birthday which she completely forgot about; panicked when she realizes she has nothing in the house to make Jack a cake; determined when she walks to the nearest liquor store and, after a perfect plea to the clerk, ends up with a banana muffin, twinkies, and a Pittsburgh Steelers terrible towel; and grief-stricken over the heartbreaking loss of one of her three babies.

All of the above adds up to not only this being Moore’s best performance to date, but her most Emmy-friendly material if nominated for Drama Supporting Actress at this year’s ceremony. We all know Emmys love awarding mothers (see: 2014 and 2015 Emmy wins for “Mom” star Allison Janney) and they recently awarded a flashback episode in the Drama Supporting Actress category (see: 2015 champ Uzo Aduba winning for her “Orange is the New Black” episode “Hugs Can Be Deceiving”). But more importantly, we at Gold Derby know that it takes three things to win an Emmy: range, impact and hugability and with “The Big Day” Moore just may have one herself come Emmy time.

Make your SAG predictions now; change them till Jan. 29

Do you think Mandy Moore will break into the Emmy race? Sound off in our TV forums and then make your SAG picks to tell industry insiders which shows, films and performers you have out front to win on January 29. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before the show time. Be sure to make your predictions right here. You’ll compete for a place of honor on our leaderboard and a starring role in next year’s Top 24 users (the two dozen folks who do the best predicting this year’s nominees). Read our contest rules.

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