Last Year’s Winner: Riz Ahmed, “The Night Of”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: Since 1992, at least one actor from an HBO film has been nominated in this category — films, not limited series.
Fun Fact: Benedict Cumberbatch is one nomination away from tying Laurence Olivier for the second-most nominations in the history of this category. Olivier, however, won four out of his six nominations, whereas the best Cumberbatch could hope for is half that.
Can Darren Criss follow in the footsteps of Courtney B. Vance and Cuba Gooding Jr. in “American Crime Story”? Can Benedict Cumberbatch get back in the race without “Sherlock”? Can Kyle MacLachlan earn his first Emmy nomination since “Twin Peaks” first went off the air in 1992?
There are a lot of questions surrounding the category for Best Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie, but one thing already seems certain: HBO has at least one nomination locked up. Barring an unforeseeable catastrophe onscreen and off, Al Pacino is all but assured his fourth Emmy nomination for the film “Paterno.” From the trailer alone, he looks the part, acts the part, and hell, he almost shares a name with the part. (Paterno and Pacino do share a beginning and an end.) Even now, this nomination seems like a sure thing.
It’s also not HBO’s only strong contender. Michael B. Jordan is riding a (never-ending) wave of strong buzz, most recently for his dynamic turn as the villain in “Black Panther.” That love could spillover to his lead role in “Fahrenheit 451”: Jordan is a consistently powerful performer, and people are taking note now more than ever.
These names are just the tip of the iceberg: Antonio Banderas looks to make waves as Pablo Picasso in the second season of “Genius.” Matthew Macfadyen will get a push for the Starz adaptation of “Howard’s End,” as will James Norton in AMC’s “McMafia.” AMC also has Jared Harris in Ridley Scott’s “The Terror,” while Netflix will be backing Jesse Plemons in “Black Mirror” and Peter Sarsgaard in “Wormwood.” Finally, of all the choices available from “Room 104,” here’s hoping HBO gets Philip Baker Hall front and center for “My Love.” His incredible display deserves recognition.
Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie (listed in alphabetical order), which will be updated throughout the season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2018 race, and read predictions for the rest of the categories, as well.
- Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”
- Benedict Cumberbatch, “Patrick Melrose”
- Michael B. Jordan, “Fahrenheit 451”
- Antonio Banderas, “Genius: Picasso”
- Kyle MacLachlan, “Twin Peaks”
- Al Pacino, “Paterno”
Spoilers: Jeff Daniels, “The Looming Tower”; Matthew Macfadyen, “Howard’s End”; James Norton, “McMafia” Jesse Plemons, “Black Mirror: U.S.S. Callister”; Michael Shannon, “Waco”
In a Perfect World: Jared Harris, “The Terror”; Philip Baker Hall, “Room 104: My Love”