Finally, an Emmy nomination for Freddie Highmore (‘The Good Doctor’), but can he win?

It’s nuts, but Freddie Highmore has been going crazy for an Emmy for years and voters haven’t nominated him. He deserved to win for his hatchet-wielding turn in “Bates Motel,” but voters for some reason didn’t warm up to that. Now he’s wielding a scalpel as a good guy in “The Good Doctor” and, whew, he still seems a little bit off, but it’s a medical condition.

Voters adore big, wig-out performances like Rami Malik in “Mr. Robot,” who won this category three years ago. There are a lot of similarities between Malik’s character Elliot and Highmore’s Dr. Murphy, come to think of it. Both guys are perceived as bonkers by many people, but, wait, there are a few smart folks who understand that these guys actually see things we don’t! They’re really just trying to save the world – one patient at a time, in Dr. Murphy’s case.

Highmore deserves an Emmy Award for giving TV’s most addictive performance in “The Good Doctor.” Week after week he shines as a surgical resident with autism and savant syndrome who struggles heroically to save patients from what only he sees: a secret malignant tumor hiding in a woman’s abdomen or tapeworms slithering through a guy’s skull. It’s risky to take on a handicap role that often requires an actor to freak out, but Highmore makes Dr. Murphy seem real, fascinating, warm and very, very normal as he invites us into his unique mind to see our world with fresh eyes.

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According to our Experts’ predictions, Highmore is now in fourth place for Best Drama Actor with 13/2 odds. I’m confident he’s solid for the nomination, along with Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”) and “This Is Us” co-stars Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia. Those fifth and sixth slots are wide open, being fought over by Liev Schreiber (“Ray Donovan”), Jeffrey Wright (“Westworld”), Kit Harington (“Game of Thrones”), Jason Bateman (“Ozark”), J.K. Simmons (“Counterpart”), Jonathan Groff (“Mindhunter”) and Donald Sutherland (“Trust”). But that’s not Highmore’s concern. At this point he probably just needs to worry about the win: Can he do it?

Yes. Highmore and his flashy TV role are very appealing. He’s still kind of the new kid in town and his powerfully empathetic performance invites the sort of welcome embrace that voters provide when they choose a winner, but beware: last year’s champ Sterling K. Brown is far ahead at this early leg of the race, according to our 18 Experts’ predictions. See how they rank their projected nominees according to likelihood of winning. Highmore needs to giddyup.

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 nominees are announced on July 12. And join in the fun debate over the 2018 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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