Darren Criss and Jesse Plemons are vying to be the second youngest Best Limited Series/TV Movie Actor Emmy champ

Darren Criss (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”) and Jesse Plemons (“USS Callister: Black Mirror”) could break the curve in the big way at the Emmys. Both are nominated for Best Limited Series/TV Movie Actor and if either wins, he’d be the second youngest champ in the category.

At 31 and 30, respectively, Criss and Plemons are competing in a category that has long favored middle-aged and older stars. The category’s youngest winner is Anthony Murphy, who was 17 when he prevailed for “Tom Brown’s Schooldays” in 1973, which was also his first and only acting role. That record looks to stand for a long time, considering that no one in their 20s has ever won.

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Eleven people have won in their 30s, including last year’s champ Riz Ahmed (“The Night Of”), who was 34, and Criss and Plemons’ rival Benedict Cumberbatch (“Patrick Melrose”), who was 38 when he upset in 2014 for “Sherlock: His Last Vow”. Criss or Plemons would knock back then-32-year-olds Peter Strauss (“The Jericho Mile”) and Powers Boothe (“Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones”), who won in in back-to-back years in 1979 and 1980.

Criss, Plemons and Cumberbatch are up against 57-year-old Antonio Banderas (“Genius: Picasso”) and 39-year-old John Legend (“Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert”). Two-time champ Al Pacino, who’s 78, was shockingly snubbed for his turn as Joe Paterno in HBO’s “Paterno.” Between this and Robert De Niro‘s loss last year to Ahmed, maybe the academy is turning over a new leaf and won’t just automatically check off established stars over rising younger actors.

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The good thing for Criss and Plemons is that they’re both already on the Emmys’ radar. Criss, who has been the predicted favorite to win all year for his eerie performance as Andrew Cunanan, was nominated in 2015 for writing the song “This Time” from “Glee”. Plemons, who was in eighth place in our odds for playing the reclusive Robert Daly, competed in the supporting race two years ago for “Fargo,” losing to another “American Crime Story” star, Sterling K. Brown.

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