Despite two nominations, Julia Roberts has yet to take home a Primetime Emmy Award. But she could finally snag her maiden statuette this year in Best Drama Actress for her turn on Amazon’s “Homecoming.”
Based on the Gimlet Media podcast of the same name, written by Micah Bloomberg and Eli Horowitz, and directed by Sam Esmail (“Mr. Robot”), the first season, consisting of 10 half-hour episodes, follows Heidi Bergman (Roberts), who’s a counselor at Homecoming facility, a place that aids war veterans adjust back to civilian life. Her job mainly consists of conducting interviews with soldiers upon return from combat. While she takes her job seriously and is genuinely committed to the cause, her controlling boss, Colin Belfast (Bobby Cannavale), is more adamant about uncovering what the soldiers are holding onto. Several years later, we find Heidi working as a waitress at a seafood restaurant with an entirely new life. When a Department of Defense employee (Shea Whigham) questions her about her decision to leave Homecoming, she starts trying to remember what exactly drove her to leave her old job.
Though she’s Emmy-less, Roberts, of course, is no unknown quantity in the industry as one of the biggest movie stars of our time. She’s got a Best Actress Oscar for “Erin Brockovich” (2000), not to mention three additional nominations; she’s also won three Golden Globes and and a Screen Actors Guild Award. After her “Pretty Woman” (1990) breakthrough, her TV work has been limited to guest spots on “Law & Order” and “Friends,” and a cameo as herself on “Murphy Brown” before she did the HBO movie “The Normal Heart.”
Her two previous Emmy bids were for Best Drama Guest Actress for “Law & Order” (1999) and Best Limited Series/TV Movie Supporting Actress for “The Normal Heart” (2014). She was the favorite in the latter, but lost to Kathy Bates (“American Horror Story: Coven”), who, lest we forget, also beat her for the Oscar with “Misery” (1990) when Roberts was up for “Pretty Woman.”
“Homecoming,” which Roberts also executive-produces, marked her first regular series role. She plays Heidi in two different timelines; one could even argue that she’s playing two different characters altogether. It helps that the story is told from her point of view, and that viewers are as much in the dark about Heidi’s past as she is herself. Practically, we go on the journey with her, which makes it easier to emphasize with her character.
For her performance, she’s already received Best Drama Actress Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice bids, and she should be a safe bet for an Emmy nom in that same category. The fact that the show hails from a past Emmy nominee — Esmail has noms for writing and producing “Mr. Robot” — and has a runtime that equals that of five hour-long episodes should only boost her chances. This will be the only chance to award Roberts for playing Heidi Bergman, as she isn’t returning for the second season, despite continuing her work as an executive producer.
Recently, we’ve seen the line between film and TV blur, as the latter has become a fertile ground for storytelling. Shows like “Big Little Lies,” “Sharp Objects” or “Fosse/Verdon” featured actors most known for their film work. And Emmy voters seem to have warmed up to the trend; “Big Little Lies” reaped a whopping 16 nods and eight wins two years ago, including acting wins for Laura Dern and Nicole Kidman.
Our combined odds have Roberts sitting in fourth place, just behind Oh (“Killing Eve”), Laura Linney (“Ozark”) and Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”), and ahead of Emilia Clarke (“Game of Thrones”), and Christine Baranski (“The Good Fight”).
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.