Michael B. Jordan is an Emmy contender this year for his leading role in the dystopian HBO telefilm “Fahrenheit 451,” which premieres on May 20. He plays Guy Montag, a “fireman” whose job is to burn books. The actor is coming off of a string of big-screen successes, including “Black Panther” earlier this year, and it’s not uncommon for an actor to leverage a recent movie hit into an Emmy victory. Will Jordan be the latest?
Jordan has risen in prominence thanks in large part to his collaborations with director Ryan Coogler. They first teamed up for the critically acclaimed independent film “Fruitvale Station” (2013) about an unarmed black man shot and killed by police in the Bay Area. Then they scaled up with “Creed” (2015), a modestly budgeted “Rocky” sequel in which Jordan played the son of former Rocky rival Apollo Creed. That film was also admired by critics, and it was a sleeper hit at the box office, grossing $173 million worldwide.
Their third collaboration was the biggest one of all. Coogler directed “Black Panther” (2018), which became the best reviewed movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and one of the highest grossing movies of all time. Jordan plays Erik Killmonger, a villain who resents the African kingdom of Wakanda for turning its back on black suffering around the world.
If the notoriety from “Black Panther” gives Jordan an Emmy boost for “Fahrenheit” it wouldn’t be the first time a movie hit led to an Emmy. Katherine Heigl pulled off an upset victory for Best Drama Supporting Actress for “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2007; it couldn’t have hurt that Heigl had just had a box office hit with “Knocked Up” that summer. Then in 2011 Melissa McCarthy surprised by winning Best Comedy Actress for “Mike and Molly” shortly after her big-screen breakthrough in “Bridesmaids.” And Benedict Cumberbatch claimed Best Movie/Mini Actor for “Sherlock” in 2014 as buzz was building for his performance in “The Imitation Game,” which was released that fall and earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.
But before Jordan was a movie star he also had noteworthy roles on TV, so even though he’s only 31-years-old, he already has an Emmy IOU to cash in. He had a recurring role in season one of “The Wire,” as the tragic Wallace, a teenage drug dealer who becomes a police informant and is killed as a result. Then he spent three years on “All My Children” as Reggie Montgomery (2003-2006) and later joined the cast of “Friday Night Lights” for its last two seasons as high school football hopeful Vince Howard. He also had a recurring role on “Parenthood.” But none of those performances earned him Emmy nominations.
He’ll finally get a nomination this year according to the combined predictions of more than 1,000 users who have entered their Emmy picks thus far in our predictions center. He currently ranks fourth with 6/1 odds, trailing Darren Criss (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace”) with 7/2 odds, Al Pacino (“Paterno”) with 9/2 odds and Kyle MacLachlan (“Twin Peaks: The Return”) with 11/2 odds. But two Editors who cover awards year-round for Gold Derby, Matt Noble and myself, currently think Jordan will pull off an upset.
Do you agree that we’re underestimating Jordan at the Emmys?
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.