SAG Awards nominee profile: Josh O’Connor (‘The Crown’) may continue to reign over his rivals as best TV drama actor

Josh O’Connor scored his first individual SAG Award nomination this year for playing Prince Charles on “The Crown.” While he only appeared in four of the third season’s 10 episodes, in the fourth season the actor appeared in nine of the 10 as the Prince of Wales was at the center of the action alongside Princess Diana (fellow SAG Award nominee Emma Corrin). Now the actor is potentially on his way to a major awards trifecta after his recent Golden Globe and Critics Choice wins.

SEE 2021 SAG Awards nominations list: Nominees for 27th annual ceremony

“The Crown” was created by Oscar, Emmy and Tony-nominated writer Peter Morgan. The series’ current cast debuted in 2019 for its third season, with Oscar and Golden Globe winner Olivia Colman replacing Emmy winner Claire Foy as Queen Elizabeth IITobias Menzies stepping in for Matt Smith as Prince PhillipHelena Bonham Carter replacing Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret, and a raft of new characters joining the fold like O’Connor as Charles and Erin Doherty as Princess Anne.

The fourth season, which premiered last November to glowing reviews stateside (it has an impressive 97% freshness rating at Rotten Tomatoes), introduced relative newcomer Corrin as well as Gillian Anderson as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, both of whom recently triumphed at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards just like O’Connor did.

O’Connor is nominated in the TV drama actor category, which groups lead and supporting performances in one competitive race, alongside breakout star Regé-Jean Page (“Bridgerton”) and Emmy winners Sterling K. Brown (“This Is Us”), Jason Bateman (“Ozark”) and Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”). Of this group, Page is the sole newbie (with dual individual and ensemble noms) up against four SAG-AFTRA favorites.

O’Connor won as a member of the “Crown” ensemble just last year and scored the coveted double noms this year (individual and ensemble). Bateman has 10 nominations to date, winning his first and only SAG trophy in 2019 for “Ozark.” Odenkirk has nine nominations (including double this year) and won as part of the “Breaking Bad” ensemble in 2014. Brown also has nine nominations to his name, winning four: the ensemble prize two years in a row (2018 and 2019) for “This Is Us,” an individual win for the NBC family drama in 2018 and a rare second ensemble prize in 2019 as part of the “Black Panther” film cast.

SEE Exclusive Video Interview: Josh O’Connor (‘The Crown’)

Can O’Connor actually triumph against three heavyweights and the hot new star of his Netflix stablemate “Bridgerton”? The guild loves “The Crown,” which has won at least one award every year it has been eligible. For its first season in 2017, Foy won alongside John Lithgow for playing PM Winston Churchill. Foy won again the following year. And the ensemble won its first (and so far only) prize in 2020.

“The Crown” seems to be on a roll everywhere you look this year. It nabbed six Globe noms, winning four – for Best Drama Series, lead actress Corrin, lead actor O’Connor and supporting actress Anderson. It cleaned up at the SAG Awards too with five nominations, up from three in 2017, two in 2018 and three in 2020. Not bad for a show in its fourth season. So if the guild loves “The Crown” that much, there’s a strong chance the prince will reign.

This article is a part of Gold Derby’s “SAG Awards nominee profile” series spotlighting the 2021 contenders in film and TV.

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