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2013 Emmy Nomination Preview & Predictions: Lead Actor/Actress in a Miniseries or Movie

With the Emmy nominations coming up on July 18, I am posting predictions and analysis of each of the top categories.  Today I’m posting two categories.

Here are my predictions and analysis for:
 
LEAD ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE
 
BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH as Christopher Tietjens in PARADE’S END
Cumberbatch was a nominee last year for the Sherlock miniseries despite being relatively unknown.  The actor starred as the main villain in this year’s Star Trek Into Darkness, getting rave reviews for his performance.  In Parade’s End, Cumberbatch plays a WWI soldier torn apart by his love for two women.  It’s a baity role and his raised profile in Hollywood should propel him to his second straight nomination in this category.  Even though the miniseries wasn’t highly publicized, actors have gotten in for even less viewed productions in the past.  I’d say he’s in for now.

 
MATT DAMON as Scott Thorson in BEHIND THE CANDELABRA
 
Damon’s co-star, who I’ll get to next, has stolen most of the attention for Behind the Candelabra, but his performance in this movie was one of his best in years.  Playing Liberace’s assistant turned lover, Damon anchors the film in a way that it needs and his movie star status shines through with every scene.  As I mentioned, he will be overshadowed at the Emmys by his co-star, but Damon is definitely in the no. 2 position to get a nomination in this category.
 
MICHAEL DOUGLAS as Liberace in BEHIND THE CANDELABRA
 
Of course, this is the performance I’m talking about.  I’m calling it right now: Douglas will win the Emmy for Best Lead Actor in a Miniseries/Movie in September.  Sometimes I resent clear frontrunners going into awards season but with a performance as great as Douglas’s, it’s hard to argue.  He plays Liberace flamboyantly when he needs to but it’s in the tortured singer’s most vulnerable moments that he really shines.  He is easily in the no. 1 position to get a nomination and probably has such a high chance of nomination that all other nominees should stay home except Damon, who will cheer his co-star on.
 
TOBY JONES as Alfred Hitchcock in THE GIRL
 
Jones is predominantly a British actor and he hasn’t exactly made a name for himself in the U.S.  Having said that, his performance as horror director Alfred Hitchcock in HBO’s The Girl got the right amount of critical praise that he’s easily one of the top contenders in the category.  The only thing besides his relative unknown status is the fact that The Girl aired so long ago that voters might not remember it or have even heard of it.  He is in the most vulnerable position of this group, but he seems like he’ll be a nominee just by process of elimination.
 
 
AL PACINO as Phil Spector in PHIL SPECTOR
 
I’ll be honest, I hated Phil Spector.  I realize most people hated it because it was wildly inaccurate to Spector’s actual case, but putting that aside it’s just not a very interesting film.  One of the few highlights, however, is the acting, especially by Pacino as the titular character.  He gets to really ham it up in his most Pacino way and he gets to wear crazy wigs.  This is the kind of bold performance that rarely gets ignored by the Emmys, especially since he’s already won this category two times over the past 10 years.  If Behind the Candelabra wasn’t in the mix I think Pacino would’ve picked up his third.
 
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The only other plausible contenders in this category are Kenneth Branagh for the latest miniseries of Wallander and Dominic West for The Hour.  Branagh is a Hollywood legend who was nominated for Wallander in 2009 so he always has a shot but I wouldn’t count on it.  West’s The Hour was nominated for Best Miniseries/Movie last year but he couldn’t even get into Lead Actor so it probably won’t happen this year either, but you never know.
 
Now let’s move on to our next category:
 
LEAD ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOVIE
 
 
JESSICA LANGE as Sister Judy Martin in AMERICAN HORROR STORY: ASYLUM
 
Lange won the Emmy for Best Supporting Actress in a Miniseries/Movie for her role in American Horror Story‘s first season, receiving so much acclaim from critics that any other winner would seem outlandish.  Though her buzz wasn’t as deafening for Asylum, she still received rave reviews for such a drastically different performance.  The emotional roller coaster her character went through on this season was truly insane and I have no doubt that the Academy will recognize her with a nomination at the very least.
 
LAURA LINNEY as Cathy Jamison in THE BIG C: HEREAFTER
 
Linney is an Emmy darling who was nominated for Best Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for this role when it first premiered.  I remember people were surprised when she didn’t win, but the fact remains that it’s a predominantly dramatic performance.  This year, The Big C‘s four-episode final season qualified for the Miniseries/Movie category and has a much higher shot at getting into more than one category now.  There are a lot of contenders for the win here, including Linney so this will be a tough category to predict come September.
 
HELEN MIRREN as Linda Kenney Baden in PHIL SPECTOR
 
As I mentioned, I thought Phil Spector was pretty terrible, but Mirren’s performance almost matched Pacino’s in quality.  Mirren holds the record for most Emmys in this category with four, so she’s clearly a beloved actress in the organization.  It’s a baity role and she gets to go toe to toe with Pacino, which can be thrilling, so I’d say she’s easily in here.  I’m not sure if she’s as strong as her potential co-nominees but she’s Helen Mirren so she’s automatically a contender for anything she does.
 
 
ELISABETH MOSS as Det. Robin Griffin in TOP OF THE LAKE
 
Moss won the Critics’ Choice TV Award for the equivalent of this category earlier this month, getting rave reviews for her performance in Top of the Lake.  She is well-known by voters as Peggy Olson in Mad Men, and they’ve nominated her four times for that performance.  I’ve see half of Top of the Lake as of today but I can already see why critics love her performance.  She is remarkably naturalistic and a stark contrast to the showy performances of everyone else in this category.  She is another contender to win here but I’m not feeling bold enough to put her in the no. 1 slot yet.
 
 
SIGOURNEY WEAVER as Elaine Barrish in POLITICAL ANIMALS
 
Political Animals had high hopes of getting picked up for a full season after their six-episode “miniseries event” but it was not meant to be.  Regardless, Weaver’s performance was one of the best parts of the miniseries.  She is beloved in Hollywood and it’s a role that drew comparisons to Hillary Clinton.  I’m not sure that she had any big moments over the course of the show that would make me predict her to win but I’d say a nomination is safe.  
 
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     Other contenders include a pair of leading ladies whose male counterparts I’ve predicted and another who was nominated at the Critics’ Choice TV Awards.  Of the former, I am speaking of Rebecca Hall for Parade’s End and Sienna Miller for The Girl.  Though both performances are excellent, there’s too much star power and buzz for the actresses I’m predicting to properly nominate either one.  Of the latter, I’m referring to Angela Bassett for Betty & Coretta, who played civil rights leader Coretta Scott King.  Though it’s a baity role, the fact that the film was on Lifetime and there wasn’t really any buzz for it hurt her chances.
 
Next time on 2013 Emmy Nomination Predictions:
Supporting Actor in a Miniseries/Movie
Supporting Actress in a Miniseries/Movie
 
The 2013 Primetime Emmy Nominations will be announced on Thursday, July 18.
 
Please feel free to voice your opinion in the comment section below.
 

Also, read my predictions and analysis of other categories:

 
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