Since 2012, no one has dominated the limited series/TV movie acting categories at the Emmys like Ryan Murphy — not Murphy himself, but his actors. Thanks to his various anthology series “American Horror Story,” “American Crime Story,” Feud: Bette and Joan” and the HBO film “The Normal Heart,” Murphy has netted 47 nominations for his stars, producing seven victories. This year he has eight actors nominated — his highest tally since 2014, when he got nominations for 11 stars — but who is the most likely of them to win?
Murphy’s actors’ nominations are spread between two shows: “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” and “American Horror Story: Cult,” with the former getting four and the latter scoring two. “Versace” leading man Darren Criss has been sitting atop our predictions since the nomination phase for his chilling turn as serial killer Andrew Cunanan and currently holds an 8/15-odd edge over his next closest rival, “Patrick Melrose” star Benedict Cumberbatch, who won in 2014 for “Sherlock: His Last Vow.” At 31, Criss would have to overcome age bias to become the second youngest winner in the category.
After getting boxed out last year thanks to the “Big Little Lies” and “Feud” ladies, Sarah Paulson is back in the lead actress race for “American Horror Story: Cult.” This is her fifth nomination for an “AHS” season, but the 2016 champ, for “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” will likely have to wait for her first “AHS” win: She’s in fifth place in our predictions, which have Laura Dern (“The Tale”) at No. 1.
Murphy reaped three slots in supporting actor, just one shy of the four he nabbed in 2014 for his stars from “The Normal Heart” and the same amount “O.J.” got in 2016. Sterling K. Brown defeated his “O.J.” co-stars David Schwimmer and John Travolta that year, but our odds are forecasting triple losses for “Versace” players Ricky Martin, Edgar Ramirez and Finn Wittrock to Jeff Daniels (“Godless”), who is also nominated in lead for “The Looming Tower.” Of the three, Ramirez has the advantage of playing the title character, even if the show was ultimately not about the slain fashion designer, and the most screen time. But unlike Brown, who was an undeniable breakout on “O.J.,” the praise for Ramirez — and “Versace” in general — is comparably muted.
Supporting actress is the only category in which both of Murphy’s shows collide; “Versace” stars Penelope Cruz and Judith Light, and “AHS” star Adina Porter are up. Porter, who’s in seventh place in our odds, feels like one of those “happy to be here” bids, while our pundits are split between Cruz and Light. Cruz, who nailed Donatella Versace’s accent, has the benefit of being an Oscar-winning movie star, but Light has the more acclaimed performance, breaking our hearts as the Marilyn Miglin, the widow of one of Cunanan’s victims, Lee Miglin. She’s also more “due” when it comes to the Emmys, having lost her previous three nominations; Cruz is on her first nomination.
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.