In just two seasons, “This Is Us” has already netted three Emmy wins for its acclaimed ensemble cast. Sterling K. Brown, who stars as Randall Pearson, won Best Drama Actor for Season 1 alongside Gerald McRaney as Dr. K in Best Drama Guest Actor. For Season 2, Ron Cephas Jones (as William) collected his first Emmy in that same guest category. “This Is Us” now finds itself with seven more Emmy nominations for its actors for Season 3, including first-time mentions for stars Mandy Moore (as Rebecca) and Chris Sullivan (as Toby). It is apparent that the TV academy still loves “This Is Us,” which is a good indication that at least one of those seven acting nominees will walk away with Emmy gold in September.
Brown is competing against his TV dad, Milo Ventimiglia (as Jack), for the third consecutive year in the Best Drama Actor category. The “This Is Us” stars lost last year to Matthew Rhys for the final season of “The Americans,” so it will be tough to corral enough momentum and support for either one of them, but it’s not impossible. Brown is clearly an academy favorite while Ventimiglia is building a case for himself as overdue.
Meanwhile, Moore is competing for the first time in the Best Drama Actress category, though she faces tough competition. It may be an uphill battle for Moore, considering she was overlooked for the first two seasons, but plenty of actors have won after previous snubs, including Rhys, Kyle Chandler (“Friday Night Lights”) and Tatiana Maslany (“Orphan Black”). Sullivan is another actor who finally snuck into the Emmy race after three seasons, contending in Best Drama Supporting Actor. He too will face a tough field, but if vote-splitting is a factor, he could easily pull ahead considering his competition includes three stars from “Game of Thrones” and two from “Better Call Saul.”
“This Is Us” will probably find the most luck in the guest acting categories. Jones is the defending champ in Drama Guest Actor and no matter how brief his role was in Season 3, lack of screen time hasn’t stopped Emmy voters from rewarding an actor they love, as Margo Martindale (“The Americans”) can testify. Also in this category is Michael Angarano, who plays the young Nick Pearson. Angarano’s nomination is a strong indication that voters really watched this season, considering he doesn’t quite have the name recognition to suggest that voters simply checked off his name without really seeing the show. Angarano had one of the most emotional arcs this season, introduced as Jack’s younger brother who experiences the horrors of the Vietnam War.
The actor in the best position to take home an Emmy for “This Is Us” this year is Phylicia Rashad. The TV veteran plays Carol Clarke, Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) mother with whom she has a chilly relationship. Gold Derby predictors have Rashad in the pole position to win Best Drama Guest Actress. This would be Rashad’s first Emmy after two previous nominations for “The Cosby Show” and another for the 2008 adaptation of “A Raisin in the Sun.” A win for Rashad would certainly be in keeping with the Emmys’ tendency to finally reward industry veterans in the guest categories, with “This Is Us” proving to be an Emmy magnet in this regard, as we saw with McRaney for Season 1 and Jones for Season 2. “This Is Us” has now won two consecutive SAG Awards for Best Drama Ensemble and all that goodwill should result in at least one more acting win for the NBC tearjerker.
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