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2016 Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie

Bryan Cranston squares off against "The People" and "O.J. Simpson."

THE PEOPLE v. O.J. SIMPSON: AMERICAN CRIME STORY “The “Verdict” Episode 110 (Airs Tuesday, April 5, 10:00 pm/ep) -- Pictured: Courtney B. Vance as Johnnie Cochran. CR: Prashant Gupta/FX

Courtney B. Vance in “American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson”

Prashant Gupta/FX

Quick Hits

  • Last Year’s Winner: Richard Jenkins, “Olive Kitteridge”
  • Was It an Upset? Yes. Though it was a split decision ’til the end, David Oyelowo (“Nightingale”) was seen by many as the favorite.
  • Still Eligible? No.
  • Hot Streak: Despite the proliferation of limited series in the past few years, some smaller networks have managed to earn trophies. PBS, History and ReelzChannel have won in the last five years alone.
  • Fun Fact: None other than Laurence Olivier has the most wins in this category with four — “The Moon and Sixpence” (1960), “Long Day’s Journey into Night” (1973), “Love Among the Ruins” (1975), and “King Lear” (1984).

READ MORE: How Bryan Cranston Could Top ‘Breaking Bad’ in 2016

Earlier this year, it seemed like Bryan Cranston had this all locked up. The Emmys darling has six total trophies and nominations dating back to his days on “Malcolm in the Middle.” Coming in with a Tony-winning role in the stage version of “All the Way” set up the small screen legend to dominate once again… but then came Courtney B. Vance.

The “People v. O.J.” breakout grounded Johnnie Cochran in a way never before imagined, and he managed to steal the show in a series packed with scene-stealers. Can he top the beloved Brian? He’ll have to take all the votes from co-star Cuba Gooding Jr., which could be tricky given his titular role (and emotional portrayal). He’ll also have to outshine the hot ticket Tom Hiddleston, whose “The Night Manager” managed to drum up a respectable number of nods all told. Idris Elba and Benedict Cumberbatch feel like honorary nominations at this point for their equally iconic roles, but hey — with this month competition, anything can happen.

Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or a Movie, which will be updated throughout the awards season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2016 race, and read the rest of the predictions in all the categories, as well.

READ MORE: Tom Hiddleston: How His Passion For Challenging Roles Led From Asgard To Nashville & Potentially Bond (Exclusive Video)

The Nominees:

  1. Bryan Cranston, “All the Way”
  2. Benedict Cumberbatch, “Sherlock: The Abominable Bride”
  3. Idris Elba, “Luther”
  4. Cuba Gooding Jr., “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
  5. Tom Hiddleston, “The Night Manager”
  6. Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

Will Win: Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”
Could Win: Bryan Cranston, “All the Way”
Should Win: Courtney B. Vance, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”

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