This year it looked like we might see some fresh faces at the Emmys, like Best Drama Actor contenders Freddie Higmore (“The Good Doctor”), Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”) and Jonathan Groff (“Mindhunter”). Plus there was Best Drama Supporting Actor hopeful Noah Schnapp (“Stranger Things”). Iain Armitage (“Young Sheldon”) could have made the cut for Best Comedy Actor for the same role that won grownup Jim Parsons four Emmys. And Michael B. Jordan (“Fahrenheit 451”) looked like a strong contender for Best Movie/Mini Actor after a strong year that included the big-screen blockbuster “Black Panther.” Alas, when it came to nominated male actors the Emmys mostly favored veterans. Check out the complete list of nominees here.
We weren’t predicting that all of those actors would be nominated, but for a few of them, their absence came as a surprise. The 26-year-old Highmore ranked fourth in our predictions for Best Drama Actor with 8/1 odds, even though it has been more than two decades since an actor in his 20s was nominated. The last was Rob Morrow, who was 29 when he first contended for “Northern Exposure” in 1992 — the year Highmore was born, incidentally. Highmore missed the cut, and in his place were two surprise nominees more in voters’ preferred age range: Ed Harris (67) for “Westworld” and Jason Bateman (49) for “Ozark.”
Schnapp was predicted to be nominated for Drama Supporting Actor, right on the cusp in sixth place with 18/1 odds. At 13 he would have been one of the youngest Emmy contenders in history, but he was left out in favor of surprise nominees Joseph Fiennes (48) for “The Handmaid’s Tale” and Matt Smith (35) for “The Crown.”
But it’s not all bad news for the young’uns. Though 31-year-old Jordan was snubbed for acting in “Fahrenheit” he’s still nominated for Best TV Movie for producing it. And he was snubbed from the lead-acting race right along with 78-year-old legend Al Pacino (“Paterno”), so it might have been the mixed reviews for their films that hurt them more than their ages.
On top of that, a couple of the surprise nominees for Best Movie/Mini Actor actually lowered the average age of the category: Jesse Plemons (30) for “USS Callister (Black Mirror)” and John Legend (39) for “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Throw in the unsurprising nomination for front-runner Darren Criss (31) for “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” and you’ve got a race whose average nominee is 43.5-years-old — barely middle aged. They’re up against Benedict Cumberbatch (41) for “Patrick Melrose,” Antonio Banderas (57) for “Genius: Picasso” and Jeff Daniels (63) for “The Looming Tower.”
A millennial also took us by surprise in the race for Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor. We were right that Edgar Ramirez would be nominated for playing the title character in “Versace,” but his 33-year-old co-star Finn Wittrock picked up an unexpected nom alongside him for his role as closeted sailor and murder victim Jeff Trail, following his bid in 2015 in this category for “American Horror Story: Freak Show.”
Unfortunately, 30-year-old breakout Cody Fern, who played another victim, David Madson, in “Versace,” didn’t have the same luck. But the good news for the young actors who missed out on nominations is that there’s always next year.
Be sure to make your Emmy predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their TV shows and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before winners are announced on September 17. Be sure to also predict winners for the Creative Arts ceremonies slated for September 8 and 9. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.