We’re still months away from the end of the eligibility window, but the race for Best Limited Series/TV Movie Actor at this year’s Emmy Awards is already shaping up to be a Battle of New York-sized fight between the heroes and villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Currently, six of the top seven actors in Gold Derby’s combined odds for the category are veterans of the MCU. Now, Marvel has a habit of hiring the best of the best for its projects, so the fact the field is currently being dominated by MCU alums isn’t too shocking (100 actors who have appeared in the MCU have already received Emmy nominations thus far). But few of the men in question are actually in the running this year for their superhero (or villain) work.
Leading the category is “Dopesick” star Michael Keaton, who portrays a small-town doctor at the heart of the opioid crisis that has crippled America in the well-regarded Hulu limited series. Keaton, a previous Emmy nominee for Best Nonfiction Special for hosting “Fred Rogers: America’s Favorite Neighbor,” portrayed Adrian Toomes, aka Vulture, in “Spider-Man: Homecoming” (2017) opposite Tom Holland. The actor currently sits in first place in Gold Derby’’s combined odds at 69/20, with three Experts and six Editors predicting him to win. He’s followed by the only man in the top seven to have not (yet) appeared in a Marvel project: Ben Foster of HBO’s “The Survivor” (15/2 odds). From there, it’s Marvel, Marvel, Marvel.
SEE Every Marvel Cinematic Universe actor who’s been nominated for an Emmy
Paul Bettany, who was nominated in the category last year for his performance in the Marvel limited series “WandaVision,” is currently in third place with 15/2 odds. This time, he’s eligible for his portrayal of Ian Campbell, the 11th Duke of Argyll, in the British drama “A Very British Scandal.” Oscar Isaac, the star of Marvel’s upcoming series “Moon Knight,” sits in fourth place (17/2 odds) for his performance on HBO’s updated take on “Scenes From a Marriage.” (Emmy prognosticators currently also have Isaac in 15th place for his performance in “Moon Knight,” which is set to debut on Disney+ on March 30.)
Meanwhile, Andrew Garfield, who lied to everyone about reprising his role as Peter Parker (Peter Three) in Sony and Marvel’s wildly successful “Spider-Man: No Way Home,” is sitting comfortably in fifth place with 9/1 odds for his performance in the upcoming FX series “Under the Banner of Heaven.” Evan Peters, who appeared in “WandaVision” and won the Emmy for Best TV Movie/Limited Series Supporting Actor last year for his turn as a young detective in HBO’s “Mare of Easttown,” follows Garfield with his new role in Netflix’s “Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story.” And Sebastian Stan, beloved for his portrayal of Bucky Barnes in multiple MCU movies and “The Falcon and The Winter Soldier” on Disney+, is sitting in seventh place for his transformative performance as rocker Tommy Lee in Hulu’s “Pam & Tommy.”
If that wasn’t already impressive, even more MCU actors are outside the top 10. Samuel L. Jackson, who has portrayed Nick Fury for more than a decade, is currently in 11th place for his turn in Apple TV+’s “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey.” Meanwhile, Jeremy Renner sits in 23rd place for his work in “Hawkeye,” the holiday-themed limited series that saw him reprise his role as Clint Barton before the famed archer handed off the Hawkeye mantle to the next generation. And Paul Rudd, known for playing Scott Lang, aka Ant-Man, and Martin Freeman, who portrayed Everett Ross in “Captain America: Civil War” (2016) and “Black Panther” (2018), sit just outside the top 30 for their performances in “The Shrink Next Door” and “Angelyne,” respectively.
While only two of the actors are actually eligible for their Marvel roles (Isaac and Renner), the fact that so many are giving compelling, potentially award-winning performances in limited series is a testament to the quality of television right now, but also to Marvel’s commitment to hiring some of the best actors working today. Now, if only we could convince Emmy voters that some of those Marvel performances were also worthy of an Emmy or two…
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