Emmys 2020 predictions slugfest: Are Andrew Scott and Cicely Tyson early front-runners in the drama guest acting races? [WATCH]

“The Handmaid’s Tale” has dominated the drama guest acting races at the Emmys of late, winning both categories last year for Cherry Jones and Bradley Whitford. Now that the Hulu hit is back in the running with another slew of contenders, will it run both categories once again, or can other shows break through? I joined Gold Derby contributors Riley Chow and Kevin Jacobsen to discuss this very question in our most recent slugfest (watch above).

“I don’t think there is a clear front-runner,” Jacobsen says about the race for Best Drama Guest Actor. Currently, he’s betting on Charles Dance for his portrayal of Lord Mountbatten in the third season of “The Crown.” Although he isn’t at the top of my predictions, I agree that he’s probably “the safest bet [for a nomination] at the moment,” following “The Crown’s” triumph for best drama ensemble at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. I have Jason Bateman in first place for “The Outsider,” a show Chow thinks “we need to watch out for,” citing its high viewership for HBO. Chow himself pegs Andrew Scott as the front-runner for headlining the “Black Mirror” installment titled “Smithereens.” It’s the first time the show and its actors compete in the drama categories, but we expect Scott to receive a make-up bid for being omitted for his fan-favorite turn as the Hot Priest in last year’s Best Comedy Series champ “Fleabag.”

Although all three aforementioned actors are firmly in the top six in our combined odds, it’s actually 2018’s victor Ron Cephas Jones who leads them for “This Is Us.” He’s joined by his co-star (and 2017’s winner) Gerald McRaney, who sits in fifth place for reprising his role as Dr. K and could benefit from having “the type of monologue he won for in the first season” in his eligible episode, as I point out. After winning the category last year, “Handmaid’s” now contends for O-T Fagbenle, Christopher Meloni and Max Minghella, the first and third of whom could capitalize on being series regulars who were in few enough episodes in the third season to compete as guest actors. Among others, we also discuss “Succession’s” James Cromwell (who rounds out the top six in our odds), “Better Call Saul’s” Dean Norris and a handful of other “This Is Us” actors.

After four noms for “How to Get Away with Murder,” is this finally Cicely Tyson’s year to win in Best Drama Guest Actress? Like our odds, Jacobsen and I have her out in front, noting that, if shortlisted, she’d become the most nominated actress in her category. But we recognize that she faces stiff competition from “Handmaid’s,” which has never lost this category and competes for two reigning champs, Alexis Bledel (2017) and Jones, as well as for Julie Dretzin and Clea DuVall. Jacobsen points out that Jones could double-dip as she also contends for “Succession,” but Chow reminds out that no performer has ever been able to pull off that impressive feat. Our odds have her in fourth place for “Succession” and in seventh for “Handmaid’s.”

“It’s difficult to see which one of them is going to be nominated,” Jacobsen says about the “This Is Us” actresses in contention. While Pamela Adlon and last year’s nominee Phylicia Rashad sit in the top six in our odds (in third and fifth places, respectively), we’re also watching out for Marsha Stephanie Blake, Jennifer Morrison and Elizabeth Perkins, bearing in mind that 11 of “This Is Us’” 27 Emmy noms and all three of its wins have been for acting. We also discuss Jane Lapotaire (who rounds out the top six in our odds) for “The Crown,” an actress who is a “classic example of a veteran who can land a nomination,” as Jacobsen puts it, as well as Harriet Walter (“Succession”) and perennial nominee Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”).

PREDICT the 2020 Emmy nominees now; change through July 28

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 the nominees are announced on July 28. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Emmys taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our television forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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