He succeeded fellow This Is Us recurring cast member Gerald McRaney (Dr. K), who won the Guest Drama Actor category last year and was again nominated this year.
Cephas Jones Jones won on his second consecutive nomination for his role as Randall’s (Sterling K. Brown) biological father; last year he was up for Supporting Actor In a Drama Series. Following William’s death late in Season 1, he only appeared briefly throughout the second season, via flashbacks and voiceovers. The episode that earned him an Emmy was the Season 2 premiere, which he opened and closed by narration as William read one of his poems, and featured a poignant flashback scene of William and Beth (Susan Kelechi Watson).
As Cephas Jones walked to the stage to pick up his trophy, Brown, also an Emmy winner for This Is Us, leapt to his feet, clapping and yelling. Brown is a double nominee this year, for lead actor in drama series (This Is Us) and guest actor in a comedy series (Brooklyn Nine-Nine).
Cephas Jones thanked his daughter, his agent, his This Is Family and especially “Top Cat Dan Fogelman for giving me the opportunity and being in the room where it happens,” adding, “God bless my mother; I know you’re looking down on me.”
Backstage, Cephas Jones, talked more about William, a “flawed man with a checkered past,” how the tortured poet and musicians was reminiscent of characters from works by August Wilson and James Baldwin, and how he researched their works to inform the character.
When asked if a character like this could have existed years ago, Cephas Jones said, “It would have been difficult.” He added, “We are moving forward and moving ahead.”
Cephas Jones knew early one that This Is Us was going t be special: “I think it was the first big table read. Me, Sterling (K Brown) and Susan (Kelechi Watson) looked at each other and knew that there was something special in the writing.,” he said. “You start to realize how the characters and how the writing affects people.”