NBC’s “This Is Us” has been the second highest-rated drama on the broadcast networks this season — behind only Fox’s “Empire” — and it returned last week from its holiday hiatus to record numbers. Since premiering in September, the sentimental family dramedy has been a marvel for the peacock net from both commercial and critical standpoints. Over the last two months, it has also demonstrated more prowess as an awards contender than any other broadcast network drama in the last five years. Will the ratings success help win over SAG Awards voters on January 29?
The Critics’ Choice Awards nominated it for Best Drama Series in November, giving NBC their first nomination in the category since the final season of “Friday Night Lights” in 2011. The American Film Institute then named “This Is Us” one of their Top 10 programs of the year, the first NBC showing there since sitcom “Parks and Recreation” in 2011. Finally, the Golden Globes nominated stars Chrissy Metz and Mandy Moore for Best Supporting Actress, as well as the series itself for Best Drama Series, giving NBC its first nomination in the top race since “Heroes” in 2006; that series also featured Milo Ventimiglia in the ostensible lead role.
Perhaps most impressive though is Sterling K. Brown’s Screen Actors Guild Award nomination for Best Drama Actor. SAG is infamously slow to recognize new shows and fresh faces. Plus Brown faced an additional challenge, being a supporting actor in a category traditionally dominated by leads, as SAG does not distinguish between leading and supporting TV performances. In fact, only two other supporting performances from first-year series have ever been nominated by SAG for Best Drama Actor: John Lithgow (“The Crown”) this year and Hector Elizondo for “Chicago Hope” in 1994 for the inaugural SAG Awards. Elizondo went on to four consecutive Emmy nominations for the role, including a Best Drama Supporting Actor win in 1997.
The Globes and the Critics’ Choice Awards are voted on by journalists, which does not always make them the best Emmy prognosticators, but “This Is Us” has also been doing well at awards voted on by workers in the television industry, some of whom also vote for the Emmys. The Writers Guild of America nominated “This Is Us” for both Best New Series Writing and Best Drama Episode Writing, marking the first that any NBC drama has been nominated in any WGA category since Best Drama Series Writing nominee “Friday Night Lights” in 2007.
The American Cinema Editors nominated “This Is Us” for Best One-Hour Commercial Series Editing. Every television program nominated by the American Cinema Editors this year was either nominated in a program category (Best Drama Series, Best Documentary Special, etc.) at the Emmys last year or is a new program that is yet to be eligible at the Emmys for the first time. And Brown’s SAG nom is also voted on by actors working in the TV industry.
The 18-episode first season of “This Is Us” continues to air on Tuesdays, with the season finale due for February 28. Make your SAG picks and 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.