After winning two Daytime Emmys for “Guiding Light,” Tom Pelphrey seemed primed to scoop up his first Primetime Emmy nom for his memorable turn in “Ozark’s” third season, but he was cruelly left out of the TV academy’s drama supporting actor lineup. But don’t give up hope just yet to see the actor recognized for his work on the Netflix series, because he can still bag nominations at next year’s Critics’ Choice, Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Last year, “Fleabag’s” Andrew Scott pulled off this specific feat after missing out on a comedy supporting actor Emmy nom for his fan-favorite turn as Hot Priest on the eventual Best Comedy Series champ, even going on to win Critics’ Choice. Unlike Pelphrey, who was expected to score an Emmy nom — he was in fourth place in our nomination odds — Scott, who was down in 11th place in 2019, wasn’t. However, both men might have ultimately fallen victim to the unlimited slots on voters’ nominating ballots, which can make it more difficult for breakthrough performers to make the cut over their more well-known counterparts. But, like Scott last year, Pelphrey’s notorious snub could end up being a blessing in disguise since ensuing award groups might want to make up for it.
The good news for Pelphrey is that of the eight men who beat him to an Emmy nomination, only two, “Better Call Saul’s” Giancarlo Esposito and “Westworld’s” Jeffrey Wright, are eligible at the winter awards — at none of which neither actor has ever been shortlisted for his respective series. That said, only at Critics’ Choice could Pelphrey benefit from a rather barren field as it’s the only group that, like the Emmys, considers supporting actors from drama series in their own category. After landing only a single bid for Julia Garner (Best Drama Supporting Actress, 2019) thus far, “Ozark” is likely to now enjoy an uptick for its third installment, which is its best reviewed one yet and received 18 Emmy citations, tying “Succession” as the most nominated drama series of the year.
At the Globes, leading man Jason Bateman’s back-to-back drama actor mentions in 2018 and ’19 are the show’s lone ones to date, but here, too, it’s poised to expand into other races, especially considering the Hollywood Foreign Press Association sometimes play catchup with the Emmys. Even though Pelphrey will have to compete in the uber-competitive catch-all supporting actor category, he checks two very important Globes-specific boxes: He is an up-and-coming actor who gave what is considered his breakthrough turn on prime-time TV, and he has yet to be recognized for this particular performance (Globe voters love to be the first ones to throw their support behind an actor or a project).
Of the three aforementioned award groups, “Ozark” has performed best at SAG, bagging noms for Bateman and leading lady Laura Linney for its debut season, and adding two more for Garner and its ensemble for its second one. Here, Pelphrey will have to compete in the single drama actor category alongside Bateman, who won this award in 2019. With a lot of heavy hitters — including “Stranger Things,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” and “The Morning Show” — as well as reigning Best Drama Series Emmy champ “Succession” — forced to sit out this cycle due to delayed productions, a lot of previous drama actor nominees are out of the running, clearing the path for Pelphrey to sneak in.
If both he and Bateman were to make the cut, it would be the 12th time a set of co-stars is nominated in the category. While capital L leads of shows generally stand a better chance at being shortlisted, every lineup since 2014 has included at least one supporting player, with last year’s even featuring three. Garner being cited alongside Linney in actress last year — even before her two straight Emmy victories — provides a positive outlook for Pelphrey this year. Plus, even though Bateman’s Marty Byrde is arguably the face of the show, Pelphrey’s Ben Davis played an equally vital role in the third season — particularly the back half that serves as a tremendous showcase for the actor, one that could play well with his peers.
Voters from all three award groups may also take into consideration that this is their only opportunity to acknowledge Pelphrey for this role, as Ben tragically bites the dust at the end of the season. And since “Ozark’s” third installment was released way back in March, Pelphrey’s upcoming role in David Fincher’s Netflix film “Mank” could act as a perfect reminder of his earlier work this year.
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