‘This Is Us’ would be first show to score back-to-back double Best Drama Actor Emmy nominations in 19 years

This Is Us” pulled off a surprise last year when both Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia made the Best Drama Actor Emmy lineup. They were just the fifth pair of co-stars this century to nab nominations. None of the other four duos accomplished it again — one pair, “True Detective”’s Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey in 2014, was a one-and-done deal — so if Brown and Ventimiglia make the cut again, they’d be the first co-stars to go back-to-back in the category since 1999.

The last twosome to score multiple Best Drama Actor nominations together were “NYPD Blue” stars Dennis Franz and Jimmy Smits, who went on a five-year streak from 1995 to 1999, with Franz winning three times and Smits going 0-5. Franz won his first Emmy for the cop drama in 1994 against his original partner in crime, David Caruso.

SEE ‘This Is Us’: Justin Hartley deserves an Emmy nomination after watching the rest of the Pearson clan get one

The ‘90s also produced back-to-back nominations for “ER” besties Anthony Edwards and George Clooney in 1995 and 1996; neither ever won for the medical drama.

Much like in Best Drama Actress, double nominees were very common in the ‘80s in Best Drama Actor. Shows like “St. Elsewhere” (William Daniels and Ed Flanders), “L.A. Law” (Corbin Bernsen and Michael Tucker) and “Dallas” (Larry Hagman and Jim Davis) fielded co-star rivals, but it took a downturn in the 2000s as Peak TV boomed. Before “True Detective,” the last three pairs of co-star nominees were all in the first three years of the 2000s: “Law & Order”’s Jerry Orbach and Sam Waterston in 2000; “The West Wing”’s Rob Lowe and Martin Sheen in 2001; and “Six Feet Under”’s Michael C. Hall and Peter Krause in 2002.

As the reigning champ — and the first black winner of the category in 19 years — Brown is a lock to return. He’s currently in first place in our early odds, with his TV father right behind him in second. Unlike last year, no one is underestimating Ventimiglia this time around. And that SAG drama ensemble win for the cast surely helped. Last year’s field featured seven nominees, so it’ll be telling if both Brown and Ventimiglia make the cut in a regular and highly competitive field of six this time.

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