This is a rough category. So many great performances being swept to the wayside. I’m not sure that the smartest decision for The People VS OJ Simpson was to run both Gooding and Vance in the lead category. Vote splitting is bound to happen, which could cause both to lose out. It’s likely only one will get in. I’d say Vance has a slight edge over Gooding. Same goes for The Dresser, where both Hopkins and McKellan share top billing. Both are widely respected actors, and could be splitting their votes as well. That’s why my three locks are Cranston, Hiddleston, and Issac. Three respected actors in three top projects who are not splitting the votes. Emmy voters may forgo nominations for Cumberbatch and Elba this time around, or they may continue to nominate them. I’m not sure either is a lock at this point.
There are some really strong Dark Horses too. James Franco, Richard Dreyfuss, and Timothy Huttan are all Oscar Nominees/Winners. This is a hard category to vote for.
Admittedly I haven’t seen all of the projects on this list. I have seen A Deadly Adoption, and while I appreciate what Ferrell did there, I don’t think he deserves a nomination. Not this year. If a comedic performance was to break through, I’d pick Johnny Depp for playing a bizarro version of Donald Trump. It’s always much harder for comedy to break through in any awards.
WILL BE NOMINATED: Bryan Cranston (All The Way), Tom Hiddleston (The Night Manager), Oscar Issac (Show Me A Hero)
WILD CARDS: Courtney B Vance (The People VS OJ Simpson), Cuba Gooding Jr (The People VS OJ Simpson), Benedict Cumberbatch (Sherlock: The Abominable Bride), Anthony Hopkins (The Dresser), Ian McKellan (The Dresser), Idris Elba (Luther)
DARK HORSES: James Franco (11.22.63), Bill Murray (A Very Murray Christmas), Patrick Wilson (Fargo), Jesse Plemons (Fargo), Malachai Kirby (Roots), Timothy Hutton (American Crime), Richard Dreyfuss (Madoff)
SHOULDA BEEN A CONTENDER: Tony Shalhoub (Act One), Will Ferrell (A Deadly Adoption), Paul Dano (War and Peace), Johnny Depp (Donald Trump’s Art Of The Deal), Andy Samberg (7 Days In Hell)