The temperature has been rising on “Chernobyl” in our Emmy predictions since it premiered on HBO in May. That may be good news for Emily Watson, who plays the composite character of Ulana Khomyuk, a Soviet scientist trying to avert a global catastrophe. She’s looking like a strong contender for Best Movie/Mini Supporting Actress, which would be the first Primetime Emmy nomination of her career. But could she actually pull off an upset by beating the two Pattys: Patricia Clarkson (“Sharp Objects”) and Patricia Arquette (“The Act”)?
As of this writing Watson ranks third in our odds, which are based on the combined predictions of thousands of Gold Derby users. That includes 22 out the 24 Expert journalists we’ve surveyed who are confident that she will be nominated. However, none of those Experts are betting on Watson to win. Instead, 18 of them back Clarkson following her Golden Globe win for her role as a Southern mother from hell. The other six say it will be Arquette for playing, well, an equally hellish mother. Could they be underestimating Watson?
The role of Ulana isn’t showy. Watson plays the role with dogged determination and moral fortitude, but she doesn’t get to chew the scenery like the two front-runners. However, “Chernobyl” has been climbing the ranks in our predictions for Best Limited Series for weeks now, and now it’s a stronger contender for that award (ranked second) than either “Sharp Objects” (ranked fifth) or “The Act” (ranked eighth). If the “Chernobyl” is poised to sweep, Watson could be carried along. It doesn’t hurt that Watson’s role is also a lot more sympathetic than the monster moms played by Clarkson and Arquette.
Watson is also due for some Emmy love. She’s a two-time Oscar nominee for “Breaking the Waves” (1996) and “Hilary and Jackie” (1998), but despite plenty of TV work she has never been nominated by the TV academy — except for an International Emmy bid in 2018 for “Apple Tree Yard.” She has even been snubbed for a couple of projects that otherwise got a lot of Emmy attention: “The Life and Death of Peter Sellers” and “Genius.” She also earned a Golden Globe nomination and won a BAFTA TV Award for “Appropriate Adult,” but that didn’t get her to the Emmys either. It’s like she’s radioactive or something. But maybe not anymore.
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 nominations are announced on July 16. And join in the fun debate over the 2019 Emmy taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.