Ron Cephas Jones stopped his ‘This Is Us’ co-star from making Emmy history last year… and now he can do it himself

Can Ron Cephas Jones do what his “This Is Us” co-star Gerald McRaney couldn’t? Two of our Emmy Experts think so.

Jones, the reigning Best Drama Guest Actor champ, is back in the same race this year for the NBC tearjerker and is in second place in our odds behind Bradley Whitford (“The Handmaid’s Tale”). But our Experts Stacey Wilson Hunt (Gold Derby) and Peter Travers (Rolling Stone) are seeing a repeat victory for the actor, which would make him the first to win the category twice for the same role.

McRaney, who won Best Drama Guest Actor in 2017 for “This Is Us,” was nearly the first last year when he was shortlisted again for his performance as the beloved Dr. K, but he was foiled by none other than Jones. McRaney himself prevented Hank Azaria from scoring two straight wins for “Ray Donovan” in 2017.

Jones would be the fourth person to win this category twice — no one has won more — but the first three did it with different roles. Patrick McGoohan won the inaugural guest award in 1975 for “Columbo: By Dawn’s Early Light” and scored the same prize for a different character on “Columbo” in 1990. John Lithgow bagged his first guest statuette in 1986 for “Amazing Stories” and got his second one in 2010 for playing “Dexter’s” best villain, the Trinity Killer. Charles S. Dutton snagged consecutive victories in 2002 and ’03 for “The Practice” and “Without a Trace,” respectively. So, yes, Dutton was the first to defend his crown, but Jones would be the first to defend for the same role.

SEE ‘This Is Us’ Emmy FYC: Music, tears and the promise of a ‘really ambitious’ fourth season

On the actress side, there have been two repeat champs for the same role: Patricia Clarkson for “Six Feet Under” (2002, ’06) and Margo Martindale for “The Americans” (2015, ’16).

Jones, who was nominated in supporting in 2017, returned to “This Is Us” four times last season. His episode submission is “A Philadelphia Story,” the second episode of Season 3 in which his late character William appears in flashbacks. Unlike most of William’s past flashbacks that focus on his health and addiction or his choice to leave baby Randall at a firehouse — sometimes both — this one features a sober William befriending a new tenant in his building, ChiChi (Yetide Bataki), whom Randall (Sterling K. Brown) meets in present day. Until then, the show hadn’t really explored that time of William’s life, when he was healthy and still years away from Randall showing up at his door.

Actors love “This Is Us” — 11 of the show’s 18 nominations have been for acting, yielding three wins — so Jones is probably good for a nomination. Trailing Jones in our odds are Michael McKean (“Better Call Saul”), James Cromwell (“Succession”), Christopher Meloni (“Pose”) and Tituss Burgess (“The Good Fight”).

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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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