Ethan Hawke (‘The Good Lord Bird’): With Mark Ruffalo finally out of the way, he is a strong Emmy contender

Ethan Hawke plays a grandiose, transformative role as righteous abolitionist John Brown in Showtime’s “The Good Lord Bird,” the kind of performance awards voters usually can’t get enough of. But he ran into a buzz saw over the winter awards season from another actor in an awards-catnip kind of role: Mark Ruffalo in “I Know This Much is True.” But Ruffalo already won his Emmy for that performance. So does that clear the way for Hawke to finally claim some awards hardware?

Ruffalo played dual roles as twins, one of whom suffers from paranoid schizophrenia. That kind of tricky, emotionally showy performance is hard to deny, so he ended up winning Emmy, Golden Globe, and SAG Awards despite the limited series having no other nominations at those events. The only award Ruffalo lost was Critics Choice, which went to John Boyega (“Small Axe”).

That kept Hawke from collecting kudos for his performance, but Ruffalo’s awards run is over, and Boyega is expected to be in the supporting category on the Emmy ballot, potentially opening the door for Hawke’s victory. Indeed, Hawke is the odds-on favorite according to the combined predictions of Gold Derby users. He’s just ahead of fellow winter awards also-ran Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”) as well as Paul Bettany (“WandaVision“), who ended up playing dual roles of his own when there was a double-Vision battle towards the end of the series.

This would be the first Primetime Emmy nomination and win for Hawke, who could additionally be recognized for writing and producing “The Good Lord Bird.” But they wouldn’t actually be his first awards for TV. He claimed a Daytime Emmy in 2017 for Best Interactive Original Content for the animated short film “Invasion!” Will he collect more trophies from the television academy?

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