Jason Bateman (‘Ozark’) is still the Emmy favorite according to our Top Users, even though Experts would rather call ‘Saul’

The Emmy race for Best Drama Actor is wide open since last year’s winner, Matthew Rhys (“The Americans”), is no longer eligible due to the end of his show’s run. Our overall racetrack odds favor Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”) based on the combined predictions of thousands of Gold Derby users, but our Top 24 Users, who got the highest scores out of more than 3,000 derbyites who bet on last year’s Emmy nominations, say it will be Jason Bateman (“Ozark”). So who’s right?

Bateman is coming off a great fall and winter awards season for “Ozark,” in which he plays a white collar money manager forced to launder money for a drug cartel. He was nominated two Emmys last year for the show (Best Drama Actor and Best Drama Directing), but the show did even better on the awards season for its second season, which aired last summer. He won the SAG Award for his performance, and he also earned his first career nominations from the Directors Guild and Producers Guild for his work behind the camera. Now 12 of our Top 24 think he’ll follow that up with his first ever Emmy. That puts him way ahead of Odenkirk, who has support from five top users, and Richard Madden (“Bodyguard“), who’s backed by three.

That’s flipped when you ask our Experts, though. We’ve polled two dozen journalists from top media outlets, and eight of them favor Odenkirk, seven say Madden and only two believe Bateman will prevail. So why the disconnect? It’s hard to know where exactly Emmy voters will stand here without Rhys in the running. The 2017 champ Sterling K. Brown (“This is Us”) is eligible again and could return to the winner’s circle, but his show lost ground in last year’s nominations and so it might be at risk of losing more.

Odenkirk, meanwhile, is on a show with a great Emmy pedigree (“Saul” is a prequel to two-time Best Drama Series winner “Breaking Bad”), but in its first three seasons it didn’t win a single trophy. Then there’s “Ozark,” which seems to be growing in industry support but was snubbed for Best Drama last year, so Bateman’s status isn’t entirely certain. And “Bodyguard” is brand new to the Emmys scene, so it remains to be seen whether it dominates or disappoints.

But Bateman certainly has overdue factor on his side in addition to his SAG Awards windfall. He has been nominated four times without a win, and the fact that he’s also an Emmy-nominated director and has proven equally adept at comedy (“Arrested Development”) and drama (“Ozark”) makes his candidacy look even stronger. Strong enough to finally win? Decide for yourself right here in our predictions center.

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.

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