This category is primed for a People Versus O.J. Simpson win and it’s understandable why. The acting on this limited series was extraordinary from top to bottom, particularly by its supporting cast. The likely winner will be Sterling K. Brown, whose performance as true-life lawyer Christopher Darden was a definitive scene-stealer in the limited series. Brown has submitted the episode “Manna From Heaven,” which was an episode that particularly showcased Brown’s incredible acting. This category truly is Brown’s to lose.
Yet Brown’s co-stars John Travolta and David Schwimmer could also nab the prize for their stellar work in this miniseries. Travolta’s slimy and unhinged performance as Robert Shapiro has been considered a bit of a comeback performance for him and such nostalgia could help him grab the win. David Schwimmer’s vulnerable performance as Robert Kardashian gave the intense limited series much needed humanity and morality. If the academy decides to award Schwimmer, it will be for the most subtle performance of the entire miniseries.
However, Sterling K. Brown’s biggest competition is Jesse Plemons for FX’s second season of Fargo. He was the epicenter of the show’s second season and perfectly captured the quirky persona of the Fargo universe, a universe that quickly spirals out of control. Plemons also has gotten respect in recent years, having acted in hit shows Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, and last year’s miniseries Olive Kitteridge. That is something voters will definitely notice and that may give him the needed push to grab the Emmy win.
While Plemons offered an incredible performance, the most memorable acting and moments of Fargo was Bokeem Woodbine as Mike Milligan, the mysterious villain of the show’s second season. Woodbine perfectly captured the intellectual philosophical nature of the villain he was portraying while also providing the character with a menacing demeanor. Do not be surprised if Bokeem Woodbine pulls off an upset in this category. He deserves it.
However, who should truly be awarded in this category is Hugh Laurie for his extraordinary performance as the villain Richard Roper in the miniseries The Night Manager. Laurie’s acting is first rate with his character always seething in corruption and murder. His Richard Roper performance was extremely calculated, portraying him as alert and very much aware of what occurs around him. Yet Laurie was also sure to give the character tremendous humanity, rounding out the character and avoiding Roper from being a stereotypical villain. What also assists Laurie is that many felt he was unfairly snubbed from winning an Emmy for House, which he had been nominated seven times for. That, along with the fact he also starred in HBO’s Veep this year, puts Hugh Laurie at the forefront of voter’s minds and that could give him the push he needs to win the award in this category.
Sterling K. Brown – The People Versus O.J. Simpson
Hugh Laurie – The Night Manager
Jesse Plemons – Fargo
David Schwimmer – The People Versus O.J. Simpson
John Travolta – The People Versus O.J. Simpson
Bokeem Woodbine – Fargo
Will Win: Sterling K. Brown – The People Versus O.J. Simpson
Could Win: Jesse Plemons – Fargo
Should Win: Hugh Laurie – The Night Manager