Emmy Predictions 2019: Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie


Serious contenders from 2018 clash with anticipated limited series still to come in a varied Supporting Actor race.

Last Year’s Winner: Jeff Daniels, “Godless”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: In the history of the Best Supporting Actor in a Limited Series and TV Movie race, there are 37 actors with more than one nomination apiece, and only one who’s won more than once: Beau Bridges won in 1997 for “The Second Civil War” and in 1993 for “The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom.”
Fun Fact: Maybe more is better? As limited series have been on the rise across television, this category has seen more winners from miniseries than TV Movies by a wide margin: Only one supporting actor this decade has won while representing a standalone movie — David Strathairn for HBO’s “Temple Grandin” — whereas five won for TV Movies in the decade prior. (More if you count two-part miniseries as movies.)
Notable Ineligible Series: Alexander Skarsgård, “Big Little Lies”; anyone from “American Crime Story”; anyone from “American Horror Story”

At the bottom of this page are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie (listed in alphabetical order). This article will be updated throughout the season, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz from the 2019 race, and read predictions in the rest of the categories, as well. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be given out Saturday, September 14 and Sunday, September 15. The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place at the Microsoft Theater in downtown Los Angeles, CA on Sunday, September 22. Fox is broadcasting the ceremony.

The State of the Race

George Clooney won an Emmy in 2010, but he’s never won an Emmy race. How’s that possible? Well, he won the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award in 2010, but despite two nominations for acting in “E.R.” and one for producing “Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief,” he’s come up zero for three when he’s nominated against his peers. What does that make the Oscar-winner this year, as he enters this race (and a few others) for his Hulu limited series “Catch-22”? Is he a frontrunner? Is he a dark horse? Is he overdue, or are Emmy voters just waiting for the right role to honor everyone favorite ex-pig owner?

Only time will tell, but needless to say, he won’t be alone on the ballot. Fellow supporting stars from “Catch-22” — including one who has won an Emmy race and one still looking for his first win, period — are also hoping to represent the series. Kyle Chandler could add a trophy to his shelf, while Hugh Laurie aims to end a surprising 0-10 run (dating back to “House” and up through a guest nod for “Veep”). Of course, voters won’t get a glimpse of “Catch-22” until May 31, so who’s to tell which star will stand out amidst the many?

The same goes for Netflix’s “When They See Us,” which features an all-star cast including supporting contenders Michael Kenneth Williams and Jovan Adepo. “Good Omens” is another May 31 release, so Amazon is hoping to crash this particular Emmy party with the likes of Jon Hamm and Michael McKean. Finally, HBO is dropping the long-anticipated “Deadwood” movie on the last day of May, as well, making John Hawkes, Brad Dourif, and Gerald McRaney (who won an Emmy for “This Is Us” in 2017) the film’s hopefuls here.

Of course, there are plenty of recent contenders, too — and at least one who barely qualifies. Ben Whishaw’s “A Very English Scandal” dropped on Amazon Prime in June 2018, over a year before the 2019 Emmy nominees will be announced, but his recent Golden Globe win certainly helped keep Whishaw in the conversation. Justin Theroux made quite an impression with “Maniac” back in September 2018, and the Emmys are long overdue in recognizing the “Leftovers” star. And the more time Eric Lange spends on the awards circuit, the better his odds will be for Showtime’s “Escape at Dannemora” — his transformation is stunning once you see him in person.

That still leaves Stephen Dorff, who earned the best reviews he’s seen since Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” for a complicated turn in “True Detective,” as well as Norbert Leo Butz, who’s turning heads as Paddy Chayefsky on FX’s “Fosse/Verdon.” David Oyelowo hopes a music-less “Les Miserables” hits the right note with voters, and Chris Messina will need a little love from HBO to boost his turn in “Sharp Objects.” (It can be hard to see past Amy Adams and Patricia Clarkson when they’re just that good.) Meanwhile, Bill Skarsgård deserves some recognition for his largely silent, mysterious, and haunting turn in Hulu’s “Castle Rock” — but he may have to outshine Clooney to get it.

Predicted Nominees:

  • Norbert Leo Butz, “Fosse/Verdon”
  • Kyle Chandler, “Catch-22”
  • George Clooney, “Catch-22”
  • Stephen Dorff, “True Detective”
  • Eric Lange, “Escape at Dannemora”
  • Ben Whishaw, “A Very English Scandal”

Spoilers: Justin Theroux, “Maniac”; Hugh Laurie, “Catch-22”; Paul Dano, “Escape at Dannemora”; David Oyelowo, “Les Miserables”; John Hawkes, “Deadwood: The Movie”; Chris Messina, “Sharp Objects”; Michael Kenneth Williams, “When They See Us”; Jovan Adepo, “When They See Us”

In a Perfect World: Jon Hamm, “Good Omens”; Bill Skarsgård, “Castle Rock”

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