Even death can’t keep a good actor down. Alexander Skarsgard was killed off at the end of “Big Little Lies” season one when his character, abusive husband and rapist Perry Wright, was chucked down a flight of stairs by Bonnie (Zoe Kravitz). But Perry lives on in flashbacks and video recordings that haunt his widow Celeste (Nicole Kidman) and mourning mom Mary Louise (Meryl Streep). Could Skarsgard actually win another Emmy in 2020 from beyond the grave? He wouldn’t be the first.
Ben Mendelsohn (“Bloodline”) was first nominated for Best Drama Supporting Actor in 2015 for his role as Danny Rayburn, the black sheep of his Florida family who is eventually killed by his brother (Kyle Chandler). He lost to Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”) that year, but even though he was literally dead in the water, he was nominated again in 2016 when he recurred in flashbacks and fantasies during season two. Even though he had much less screentime than when he was alive, he actually won that prize in a stunning upset. He was even nominated one more time in 2017 as a guest-starring ghost.
Ron Cephas Jones (“This is Us”) had a similar Emmy trajectory. He was nominated for Best Drama Supporting Actor in 2017 for playing William Hill, the biological father of Randall Pearson (Sterling K. Brown). William died after one season, but “This is Us” tells stories across time periods, so death is never really the end of the story. He returned to the show in season two and won Best Drama Guest Actor in 2018. He’s eligible as a guest actor again in 2019.
Skarsgard may have an uphill battle at next year’s Emmys. He won Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actor in 2017 back when “Big Little Lies” was only intended to be a limited series. Continuing for a second season means the show will move over into the drama categories, which might be more challenging for Skarsgard given that his flashback scenes are so brief compared to his role in season one. But awards voters loved his performance two years ago. Not only did he win the Emmy, he went on to sweep the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice Award and SAG Award, too. Fans of the show in the TV academy might be inclined to just check off his name again if they see him on the ballot — assuming he’s entered for consideration, which isn’t guaranteed.
Do you think Skarsgard’s ghost will haunt the Emmys just like he’s still haunting the women he terrorized?
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