NBC’s “This Is Us” is filled with many great performances, so it’s no surprise that 11 of its 18 Primetime Emmy Award nominations, not to mention three wins, have been for acting. This year, yet another cast member, Susan Kelechi Watson, could reap an Emmy bid with a scene-stealing performance.
In the third season, fan favorite Beth Pearson (Watson) has gone from supporting her husband during his grueling city council campaign and unexpectedly losing her job to returning to her passion for dancing. All these storylines came together beautifully in the Beth-centric 13th episode, “Our Little Island Girl,” in which we see flashbacks of multiple phases of Beth’s childhood. We witness her struggle to juggle her mother’s (Phylicia Rashad) demands and home life with her desire of pursuing a path in dance.
Another “This Is Us” star breaking into an acting category wouldn’t be too surprising, as Sterling K. Brown (drama actor, 2017-18), Brian Tyree Henry (drama guest actor, 2017), Ron Cephas Jones (drama supporting actor, 2017; drama guest actor, 2018), Gerald McRaney (drama guest actor, 2017-18), Chrissy Metz (drama supporting actress, 2017), Denis O’Hare (drama guest actor, 2017), and Milo Ventimiglia (drama actor, 2017-18) have all earned nominations. Brown (2017), Jones (2018), and McRaney (2017) all prevailed.
“This Is Us” is a very performance-heavy show that allows actors to thoroughly display their range, especially in character-centric episodes like Beth’s in Season 3. Even if episode submissions don’t necessarily push actors across the finish line anymore, Watson’s nearly one-woman show may catch enough voters’ attention to land her a spot in the Best Drama Supporting Actress Emmy lineup. Even when childhood Beth is played by younger actresses in “Our Little Island Girl,” you can’t help but think of Watson and her layered performance as present-day Beth.
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But are enough Emmy voters still watching “This Is Us?” Last year, Justin Hartley and Mandy Moore were expected to receive bids in their respective categories after their powerful performances in the two of the season’s most hyped episodes, “Number One” and “Super Bowl Sunday.” But both ended up being snubbed. In fact, the television academy also dropped Metz after nominating her the year before.
That said, last year’s drama races were incredibly stacked and six of last year’s seven supporting actress nominees are now ineligible, so there is a lot of room for Watson to break in; the only returnee in contention is Lena Headey for the final season of “Game of Thrones.” Plus, Watson is one of a few main cast members who has yet to be individually recognized by any industry group; maybe voters feel like it’s just the right time to do so.
Also worth mentioning is that the cast has just come off its second consecutive drama ensemble win at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, despite having to face heavy hitters “The Americans,” “Better Call Saul,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Ozark.” This, at the very least, is still a sign that the show has continued support from actors.
In our combined Emmy odds, Watson is currently in fifth place, behind Headey, Julia Garner (“Ozark”), Maisie Williams (“Game of Thrones”), Sophie Turner (“Game of Thrones”), and ahead of sixth-place holder Rhea Seehorn (“Better Call Saul”).
PREDICT the Emmy nominees now; change them until July 16
In the near future, you can check out how our experts rank this year’s Emmy contenders. Then take a look at the most up-to-date combined odds before you make your own 2019 Emmy predictions. Don’t be afraid to jump in now since you can keep changing your predictions until just before nominations are announced on July 16.
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