It’s a truth universally acknowledged, that a man known for playing Mr. Darcy, must be in want of an Emmy. And this year, there are two such opportunities for a former Fitzwilliam Darcy to walk away an Emmy winner.
Colin Firth, who made women everywhere swoon as the prideful but noble Mr. Darcy opposite Jennifer Ehle’s Elizabeth Bennet on the 1995 television adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” is eligible for Best Limited Series/TV Movie Actor for his turn on the HBO Max true crime limited series “The Staircase.” While Firth’s interpretation of Darcy is still considered by many to be the best portrayal of the character, he now lends his acting talents to portraying a much different kind of man, as he brings to life writer Michael Peterson, who was convicted in 2003 of murdering his wife (played by Toni Collette) and whose story was famously depicted in the 2004 docuseries of the same name.
Meanwhile, Matthew Macfadyen, known to a slightly younger generation of fans for playing Mr. Darcy opposite Keira Knightley’s version of Lizzie in Joe Wright’s 2005 film “Pride & Prejudice” (which also features one of the best movie scores of the last quarter century, don’t @ me), is a very strong contender for Best Drama Supporting Actor for playing Tom Wambsgans on HBO’s dysfunctional family drama “Succession.”
SEE ‘Succession’s’ Matthew Macfadyen on Tom’s ‘incremental buildup of hurt’ that led to the shocking Season 3 finale
While both men, who also star in the recently released Netflix film “Operation Mincemeat,” could walk away winners come September, Macfadyen currently has the better odds. For his performance in “Succession’s” stellar third season, which saw Tom prepare both mentally and emotionally to face time in prison (and get deep into the prison blogs about toilet wine in the process), Macfadyen recently took home the BAFTA for Best Supporting Actor. He could easily pick up another statuette at the Emmys later this year, as he presently sits in second place at 11/2 in Gold Derby’s combined odds.
Macfadyen trails only his co-star Kieran Culkin (9/2 odds), and while vote splitting is a real concern — also in the running for supporting actor are “Succession” stars Nicholas Braun (fifth place) and Alan Ruck (ninth) — Macfadyen had one of the best arcs of the season, bringing pathos to a very popular show about a family who’d scoff at the very idea of emotion. Of course, Macfadyen will also have to hold off the likes of former champ Billy Crudup (“The Morning Show,” third), O Yeong-su (“Squid Game,” fourth), Giancarlo Esposito (“Better Call Saul,” sixth), Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul,” seventh) and John Turturro (“Severance,” eighth). But luckily, Emmy voters have already proven they like “Succession” and its large, extended cast.
Sitting in fifth place at 11/1 odds, Firth has a steeper path to the top in the race for Best Limited Series/TV Movie Actor. He’ll first have to overcome Ben Foster (“The Survivor”), the lone TV movie actor in the top 10, and Oscar Isaac (“Scenes From a Marriage”), who have been sitting comfortably in third and fourth place, respectively. Now that “The Staircase” is streaming, Firth has been on the rise, so it won’t be surprising if he surpasses them in the odds soon. What will require a bit more effort is topping “Under the Banner of Heaven” star Andrew Garfield, who sits in second place and is hot off an Oscar nomination for Best Actor (“Tick, Tick… Boom!”), and current category frontrunner Michael Keaton. Earlier this year, the latter took home the Screen Actors Guild and Critics Choice awards for his turn as a small-town doctor at the center of the opioid epidemic in Hulu’s limited series “Dopesick.” Both men are locks for nominations, and many have considered the Emmy to be Keaton’s to lose for months now. But if Firth triumphs — and if Macfadyen can also sneak past the fan-favorite Culkin — the erstwhile Misters Darcy will have won much more than the hearts of Lizzie Bennet and women everywhere: They’ll forever be part of one of the best bits of Emmys trivia in a long, long time.
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