Ray Richmond contributes to Deadline’s TV coverage.
This mini-movie supporting lineup promises to be a particularly unpredictable one, with at least three of the contenders and maybe four having a legitimate claim on the golden girl. It begins with James Cromwell’s chilling portrayal of a Nazi scientist in FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum and continues with Zachary Quinto‘s performance in the same project as a psychiatrist who has a secret life as a serial killer. They will be competing with Peter Mullan for his work as the sadistic Matt in the Sundance Channel miniseries Top Of The Lake and John Benjamin Hickey, nommed for his portrayal of the dying Cathy’s brother Sean in Showtime’s The Big C: Hereafter. Finally, there is the longest shot on the board: Scott Bakula in the HBO biopic Behind The Candelabra. The five nominees for mini-movie supporting actress honor five pretty spectacular performances, as we would expect. Any of the five could go home with the trophy. Heading this impressive group is the veteran Alfre Woodard, whose 17th nomination (for her work in the Lifetime reboot of Steel Magnolias) ties her with Ed Asner and surpasses the 16 of Tyne Daly. That’s some pretty impressive company, particularly considering that the 17 come for 16 different roles. She’s also got four wins to her credit. Woodard goes up against Sarah Paulson for FX’s American Horror Story: Asylum (her second nom) and Ellen Burstyn for USA’s Political Animals (her sixth) as well as first-timers Imelda Staunton (HBO’s The Girl) and Charlotte Rampling (for the Sundance Channel mini Restless).
MINISERIES-MOVIE SUPPORTING ACTOR
Why He Could Win: Throughout his long and colorful career, Cromwell has remained something of a beloved figure. The irony is that he could well win here for playing against type as a sadistic Nazi scientist and torturer in Asylum.
Why He Could Lose: This is annually a profoundly unpredictable category, and any of three first-time nominees could knock Cromwell off. He’s also never won in three previous noms, which may or may not be an indicator.