Emmy Predictions: Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie – Joel Edgerton and Ethan Hawke Could Duke It Out

Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Emmys ceremonies from film awards editor Clayton Davis. Following history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Emmy predictions are updated regularly with the current year's list of contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. The eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and is subject to change.

To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE EMMYS COLLECTIVE
Visit each individual category, according to the awards show from THE EMMYS HUB
Link to film awards hub THE OSCARS HUB

DRAFT>>>PRE-SEASON>>>REGULAR SEASON>>>POST SEASON

2021 EMMYS PREDICTIONS:
OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE

UPDATED: May 13, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: The race for the five available spots will be tight this year, with an abundance of talent and transformative performances. The top two spots seem secure for Ethan Hawke as John Brown in Showtime’s “The Good Lord Bird” and Joel Edgerton as the slave catcher Ridgeway in Amazon Prime Video’s “The Underground Railroad.” Both will be hard to beat, but Hugh Grant’s work in “The Undoing” will try its best to break through.

Name recognition and familiarity will help Jeff Daniels (“The Comey Rule”), who is loved by the TV Academy and Bryan Cranston (“Your Honor”) who has the most wins of all the actors in contention for this prize this year.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Emmys react and embrace Disney Plus’ “Hamilton” and if there will be room for multiple performers from the film, most notably co-leads Lin-Manuel Miranda and Leslie Odom Jr. the Golden Globes recognized the former. Still, Odom was nominated for best supporting actor for “One Night in Miami,” so perhaps they wanted to spread the wealth.

The eligibility period ends on May 31 before nomination-round voting begins on June 17, concluding June 28. The Primetime Emmy nominations will be announced on July 13, 2021.


Lazy loaded image

AND THE PREDICTED NOMINEES ARE:

  1. Ethan Hawke
    "The Good Lord Bird" (Showtime)
    Lazy loaded image


    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: John Brown

    CREATOR: Ethan Hawke
    SYNOPSIS: Ethan Hawke stars as abolitionist John Brown in this series based on the novel. "Onion" is a fictional enslaved boy who becomes a member of Brown's family of abolitionist soldiers and finds himself in the 1859 raid at Harpers Ferry.
    STARRING: Ethan Hawke, Hubert Point-Du Jour, Beau Knapp, Nick Eversman, Ellar Coltrane, Jack Alcott, Mo Brings Plenty, Daveed Diggs, Joshua Caleb Johnson


  2. Joel Edgerton
    "The Underground Railroad" (Amazon Prime Video)
    Lazy loaded image


    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Ridgeway

    CREATOR: Barry Jenkins
    SYNOPSIS: A young woman named Cora makes an amazing discovery during her attempt to break free from slavery in the deep south.
    STARRING: Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon, Aaron Pierre, Joel Edgerton


  3. Hugh Grant
    "The Undoing" (HBO)
    Lazy loaded image


    EMMY HISTORY: One nomination
    ROLE: Jonathan Fraser

    CREATOR: David E. Kelley
    SYNOPSIS: A modern twist to a classical "whodunnit" tale, when the life of a wealthy New York therapist turns upside down after she and her family get involved with a murder case.
    STARRING: Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Édgar Ramírez, Noah Jupe, Lily Rabe, Matilda De Angelis, Ismael Cruz Córdova, Edan Alexander, Michael Devine, Donald Sutherland


  4. Jeff Daniels
    "The Comey Rule" (Showtime)
    Lazy loaded image


    EMMY HISTORY: Five nominations, two wins (lead actor in a drama series for "The Newsroom" in 2013 and supporting actor in a limited series or movie for "Godless" in 2018)
    ROLE: James Comey

    CREATOR: Billy Ray
    SYNOPSIS: Jeff Daniels and Brendan Gleeson star as former FBI Dir. James Comey and President Donald J. Trump in this limited series of the story of two powerful men, whose strikingly different ethics and loyalties put them on a collision course.
    STARRING: Jeff Daniels, Holly Hunter, Michael Kelly, Jennifer Ehle, Scoot McNairy, Jonathan Banks, Oona Chaplin, Amy Seimetz, Steven Pasquale, Brendan Gleeson


  5. Lin-Manuel Miranda
    "Hamilton" (Disney Plus)
    Lazy loaded image


    EMMY HISTORY: Four nominations, one win (original music and lyrics for the song "Bigger" from the "The 67th Annual Tony Awards")
    ROLE: Alexander Hamilton

    CREATOR: Lin-Manuel Miranda (book), Thomas Kail (director)
    SYNOPSIS: The real life of one of America's foremost founding fathers and first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Captured live on Broadway from the Richard Rodgers Theater with the original Broadway cast.
    STARRING: Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, Phillipa Soo


Lazy loaded image

Leslie Odom Jr. as Aaron Burr in the filmed version of the original Broadway production of “Hamilton.” Disney+

NEXT IN LINE CONTENDERS:

  1. Leslie Odom Jr.
    "Hamilton" (Disney Plus)
    Lazy loaded image


    EMMY HISTORY: One nominations
    ROLE: Aaron Burr

    CREATOR: Lin-Manuel Miranda (book), Thomas Kail (director)
    SYNOPSIS: The real life of one of America's foremost founding fathers and first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton. Captured live on Broadway from the Richard Rodgers Theater with the original Broadway cast.
    STARRING: Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Jonathan Groff, Christopher Jackson, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Leslie Odom Jr., Okieriete Onaodowan, Anthony Ramos, Phillipa Soo


  2. Bryan Cranston
    "Your Honor" (Showtime)
    Lazy loaded image


    EMMY HISTORY: 15 nominations, 6 wins (lead actor in a drama series for "Breaking Bad" in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2014 and outstanding drama series for "Breaking Bad" in 2013 and 2014).
    ROLE: Michael Desiato

    CREATOR: Peter Moffat
    SYNOPSIS: A judge confronts his convictions when his son is involved in a hit and run that embroils an organized crime family. Facing impossible choices, he discovers how far a father will go to save his son's life.
    STARRING: Bryan Cranston, Hunter Doohan, Hope Davis, Sofia Black-D'Elia, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Michael Stuhlbarg, Carmen Ejogo


  3. Paul Bettany
    "WandaVision" (Disney Plus)
    Lazy loaded image


    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Vision

    CREATOR: Jac Schaeffer
    SYNOPSIS: Blends the style of classic sitcoms with the MCU, in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision - two super-powered beings living their ideal suburban lives - begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.
    STARRING: Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Debra Jo Rupp, Fred Melamed, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Randall Park, Kat Dennings, Evan Peters


  4. Ewan McGregor
    "Halston" (Netflix)
    Lazy loaded image


    EMMY HISTORY: Three nominations
    ROLE: Halston

    CREATOR: Sharr White
    SYNOPSIS: It tracks Halston as he leverages his single, invented name into a worldwide fashion empire that's synonymous with luxury, sex, status and fame, literally defining the era.
    STARRING: Ewan McGregor, Rory Culkin, Rebecca Dayan, Sullivan Jones, David Pittu, Krysta Rodriguez, Gian Franco Rodriguez, Bill Pullman, Kelly Bishop, Vera Farmriga, Maxim Swinton


  5. Andrew Scott
    "Oslo" (HBO)
    Lazy loaded image


    EMMY HISTORY: One nomination
    ROLE: Terje Rød-Larsen

    CREATOR: Bartlett Sher (directed by)
    SYNOPSIS: Recounts the true-life, previously secret, back-channel negotiations in the development of the pivotal 1990s Oslo Peace Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization.
    STARRING: Andrew Scott, Ruth Wilson, Jeff Wilbusch, Salim Daw, Waleed Zuaiter, Igal Naor


Lazy loaded image

Chris Rock, “Fargo” Courtesy of Elizabeth Morris / ©FX / Courtesy Everett Collection

TOP-TIER AWARDS CONTENDERS:

  1. Chris Rock
    "Fargo" (FX)

    EMMY HISTORY: 19 nominations, four wins (outstanding variety, music or comedy special and outstanding writing for a variety or music program for "Chris Rock: Bring the Pain" in 1997, outstanding writing for a variety or music program for "The Chris Rock Show" in 1999 and outstanding writing for a variety, music or comedy special for "Chris Rock: Kill the Messenger - London, New York, Johannesburg" in 2009)
    ROLE: Loy Cannon

    CREATOR: Noah Hawley
    SYNOPSIS: Various chronicles of deception, intrigue and murder in and around frozen Minnesota. Yet all of these tales mysteriously lead back one way or another to Fargo, North Dakota.
    STARRING: Chris Rock, Jessie Buckley, Jason Schwartzman, Ben Whishaw, Jack Huston, Salvatore Esposito, E'myri Crutchfield, Andrew Bird, Anji White, Jeremie Harris, Matthew Elam, Corey Hendrix, James Vincent Meredith, Francesco Acquaroli


  2. Olly Alexander
    "It's a Sin" (HBO Max)

    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Ritchie Tozer

    CREATORS: Russell T. Davies
    SYNOPSIS: A chronicle of four friends during a decade in which everything changed, including the rise of AIDS.
    STARRING: Olly Alexander, Nathaniel Curtis, Shaun Dooley, Omari Douglas, Lydia West, Keeley Hawes


  3. Jude Law
    "The Third Day" (HBO)

    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Sam

    CREATOR: Felix Barrett, Dennis Kelly
    SYNOPSIS: A man and a woman make separate journeys to a mysterious island off the British coast.
    STARRING: Jude Law, John Dagleish, Mark Lewis Jones


  4. Ashley Thomas
    "Them" (Amazon Prime Video)

    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Henry Emory

    CREATOR: Little Marvin
    SYNOPSIS: A Black family moves to an all-white Los Angeles neighborhood where malevolent forces, next door and otherworldly, threaten to taunt, ravage and destroy them.
    STARRING: Deborah Ayorinde, Ashley Thomas, Shahadi Wright Joseph


  5. Joseph Gordon-Levitt
    "7500" (Amazon Prime Video)

    EMMY HISTORY: Two nominations, two wins (outstanding creative achievement in interactive media - social tv experience for "HitRECord on TV" in 2014 and outstanding innovation in interactive programming for "Creative Together" in 2020)
    ROLE: Tobias Ellis

    CREATOR: Patrick Vollrath (directed by)
    SYNOPSIS: When terrorists try to seize control of a Berlin-Paris flight, a soft-spoken American co-pilot struggles to save the lives of the passengers and crew while forging a surprising connection with one of the hijackers.
    STARRING: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Omid Memar, Aylin Tezel


  6. Paul Bettany
    "Uncle Frank" (Amazon Prime Video)

    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Frank

    CREATOR: Alan Ball (directed and written by)
    SYNOPSIS: In 1973, when Frank Bledsoe and his 18-year-old niece Beth take a road trip from Manhattan to Creekville, South Carolina, for the family patriarch's funeral, they're unexpectedly joined by Frank's lover, Walid.
    STARRING: Paul Bettany, Sophia Lillis, Peter Macdissi


  7. Alexander Skarsgård
    "The Stand" (CBS All Access/Paramount Plus)

    EMMY HISTORY: One nomination, one win (supporting actor in a limited series or movie for "Big Little Lies" in 2017)
    ROLE: Randall Flagg

    CREATOR: Josh Boone
    SYNOPSIS: After the world is in ruins, due to a man-made plague, a battle of Biblical proportions ensues between the survivors.
    STARRING: Alexander Skarsgård, James Marsden, Whoopi Goldberg, Odessa Young, Gordon Cormier, Ambert Heard, Jovan Adepo, Owen Teague


  8. Nick Robinson
    "A Teacher" (Hulu)

    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Eric Walker

    CREATOR: Hannah Fidell
    SYNOPSIS: A Teacher explores the complexities and consequences of a predatory relationship between Claire Wilson, a young teacher at a suburban Texas high school and her student, Eric Walker.
    STARRING: Kate Mara, Nick Robinson, Ashley Zuckerman


  9. Alessandro Nivola
    "Black Narcissus" (FX)

    EMMY HISTORY: Three nominations, one win (outstanding made for television movie for "Door to Door" in 2003)
    ROLE: Mr. Dean

    CREATOR: Charlotte Bruus Christensen (directed by)
    SYNOPSIS: Adaptation of the 1939 novel by Rumer Godden. A group of nuns face challenges in the hostile environment of a remote old Himalayan palace that they wish to make a convent.
    STARRING: Gemma Arterton, Alessandro Nivola, Aisling Franciosi, Nila Aalia, Diana Rigg, Jim Broadbent, Gina McKee


  10. James Marsden
    "The Stand" (CBS All Access/Paramount Plus)

    EMMY HISTORY: Never nominated
    ROLE: Stu Redman

    CREATOR: Josh Boone
    SYNOPSIS: After the world is in ruins, due to a man-made plague, a battle of Biblical proportions ensues between the survivors.
    STARRING: Alexander Skarsgård, James Marsden, Whoopi Goldberg, Odessa Young, Gordon Cormier, Ambert Heard, Jovan Adepo, Owen Teague

Lazy loaded image

7500 Courtesy of Amazon

ALL AWARDS CONTENDERS (UNRANKED):

AWARDS CATEGORY HISTORY (Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known simply as the Emmys, is television’s most prestigious artistic award. There are many records held for both wins and nominations in the near eight decades.

For wins: This category has had many rule changes and inceptions in its history, but it’s worth noting that Laurence Olivier has the most wins in this category, with four with Peter Ustinov behind him with three.

For nominations: Hal Holbrook has the most nominations in this category of any actor with seven, while Benedict Cumberbatch and Laurence Olivier follow close behind with six apiece.


2021 Primetime Emmy Awards Predictions

About the Primetime Emmy Awards (Emmys)

The Primetime Emmy Awards, better known as the Emmys, is given out by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (ATAS). Since 1949, the awards recognize excellence in American primetime television programming. They are divided into three classes – Primetime Emmy Awards, the Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards (honors artisan achievements) and the Primetime Engineering Emmy Awards (recognizes significant engineering and technological contributions). The typical eligibility period is between June 1 and May 31 of any given year. The Television Academy comprises over 25,000 members, representing 30 professional peer groups, including performers, directors, producers, art directors and various artisans and executives.

  • The 73rd Emmy Awards are scheduled to air on Sunday, Sept. 19 at 8:00 pm est on CBS and on-demand on sister streamer Paramount Plus.

Source