While most of us Emmy pundits are tearing our hair out over the Emmy race for Best Drama Supporting Actor, Gold Derby contributor Amanda Spears thinks she’s got it all figured out. “Personally, I think this is Peter Dinklage,” she says, putting her money on the “Game of Thrones” star. Spears recently joined me and our fellow Gold Derby contributors Riley Chow, Tom O’Brien and Tony Ruiz to debate the category. Watch our entire slugfest above.
Dinklage is a two-time winner for the HBO fantasy series (2011 and 2015) and has been nominated for every season of the show. He was absent last year because “Thrones” didn’t air new episodes in time for eligibility, which opened the door for John Lithgow (“The Crown”) to prevail. But Lithgow was only on that show for one season, so he’s out of the running now. That leaves Dinklage to face off against his “Thrones” co-star Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, returning nominees Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”) and David Harbour (“Stranger Things”), and Emmy newcomers Joseph Fiennes (“The Handmaid’s Tale”) and Matt Smith (“The Crown”).
While Spears is confident in her pick, Ruiz is less certain. “I don’t necessarily think this is a slam dunk,” he explains. “I’m predicting Dinklage, but I don’t think he’s that strong of a front-runner.” That’s because potential vote-splitting with Coster-Waldau could derail both of their chances much the same way Dinklage likely pulled support away from his co-star Kit Harington when Harington was predicted to win in 2016.
Currently Harbour ranks first on our racetrack with 1/1 odds based on the combined predictions of more than 1,000 Gold Derby users. His Critics Choice victory earlier this year helps boost his chances, as does the fact that, as Chow explains, “he’s become the face of the show in a way that he wasn’t when it started.” On top of that, Chow adds that Harbour “still has all that goodwill from his SAG speech” when the show won for its ensemble cast back in January 2017. But even though he’s predicting Harbour, Chow still thinks “this category is maybe the most open in the primetime ceremony.”
O’Brien, meanwhile, is placing his chips on a “Handmaid’s Tale” sweep carrying Fiennes along. “There is a place now for ‘Handmaid’s’ fans to go in the male category,” he says. The Hulu original won Best Drama Series in its first season as well as all three acting prizes it was up for: Elisabeth Moss (lead), Ann Dowd (supporting), and Alexis Bledel (guest). Should it repeat again for Best Drama Series, Best Drama Actress and Best Drama Supporting Actress as our racetrack odds indicate, it’s entirely possible Fiennes could ride the show’s coattails to victory.
As for me? I started out picking Dinklage, then switched to Fiennes after some convincing by O’Brien. Maybe I’ll switch to Smith. Or Harbour. Or back to Dinklage. It’s honestly that hard to pin down.
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