Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series Or Movie

Two past winners in the category face off against a certified movie legend and a two-time Oscar winner on his first Emmy nomination. Plus two stars of the same acclaimed HBO limited series, and another screen star joining the run of Fargo make this a distinguished lineup that may not be as competitive as the ladies’, but holds its own intrigue nonetheless.

Riz Ahmed
The Night Of
HBO

The new British star may be best known these days as Bodhi Rook in the most recent Star Wars film, but he also set the small screen on fire as a murder suspect in this riveting limited series, and earned his second Emmy nomination after a 2012 guest star turn in Girls. He’s got a real shot to pull this off even if the show appeared early in eligibility period, and he has to compete with co-star John Turturro.

Benedict Cumberbatch
Sherlock: The Lying Detective
PBS

Nominated five out of the past six years in this category, four of those nods came from his continuing work as Sherlock Holmes in the Masterpiece Theatre series of films. He won in 2014 for the role and he is obviously a favorite of Emmy voters so we can’t count him out on winning yet again.

Robert De Niro
The Wizard of Lies
HBO

HBO

Richard Dreyfuss first took on Bernie Madoff in an ABC two-part movie last year but it brought him no Emmy recognition. Can the legendary De Niro be the one to put Madoff in the Emmy books? The HBO movie itself didn’t win the kind of wide acclaim you might expect for an extremely rare TV appearance from the seven-time Oscar nominee and two-time winner, but nevertheless he is Robert De Niro so attention must be paid for this, his first Emmy nomination.

Chris Large/FX

Ewan McGregor
Fargo
FX

Though known for his big screen work, McGregor was actually nominated for an Emmy 20 years ago for a guest turn on ER. It has only taken him two decades to land his second nomination (and a third as Narrator on Highlands: Scotland’s Wild Heart) in the dual roles of Emmit and Ray Stussy in this continuing limited series. Will absence make the heart grow fonder for Emmy voters this time around?

Geoffrey Rush
Genius
National Geographic

National Geographic/Dusan Martincek

This Oscar, Emmy, and Tony winner is always a contender no matter what he does, and he is back in contention once again playing a real life legend, Albert Einstein, in the ten-part series Genius. He won an Emmy in this category playing a comedic genius in 2004’s The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, and now is out to prove truth is better than fiction when it comes to Emmy success. The only drawback is he shared the role with Johnny Flynn playing the younger version of Einstein and appeared mostly in the second half of the series’ run.

John Turturro
The Night Of
HBO

One of the best and most consistent of all actors, Turturro is surprisingly light on awards but did win a Guest Actor Emmy in 2004 for an appearance on Monk. As John Stone in The Night Of he went toe-to-toe with co-star Riz Ahmed and stole several scenes. It may be tough to choose between the two.

PETE’S PICK: Robert De Niro, The Wizard of Lies


Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie

Well, we can probably start by eliminating Bill Camp and Michael Kenneth Williams, both nominated for The Night Of but not only overshadowed by the eight part series’ stars but also likely to split votes. Then there is Alfred Molina, tremendous as director Robert Aldrich, and Stanley Tucci, nailing Jack Warner, in Feud, also likely to split votes from lovers of that terrific limited series.

David Thewlis as V.M Varga in Fargo is formidable to be sure, but doesn’t this category belong to Alexander Skarsgård as Perry, the husband with demons he can’t control in Big Little Lies? Skarsgård took a difficult role and made it three dimensional. He’s certainly the most talked about in this category.

WINNER: Alexander Skarsgård, Big Little Lies

HBO