- Last Year’s Winner: Bill Murray, “Olive Kitteridge”
- Was It an Upset? No
- Still Eligible? Not in this category.
- Hot Streak: “American Horror Story” has four nominations in four years, but missed out on a nod in 2014. Denis O’Hare and Finn Wittrock were both nominated last year (presumably to make up for the previous omission).
- Fun Fact: Over the years, there haven’t been a lot of repeat contenders in this category. Beau Bridges has the most wins ever — with two (“The Positively True Adventures of the Alleged Texas Cheerleader-Murdering Mom” in 1993, which, obviously, we all desperately need to see, and “The Second Civil War” in ’97), and only four people have scored more than two nominations in their lifetimes.
A two-horse race with a few potential spoilers, this race — like so many this year — comes down to the old guard vs. the new. Hugh Laurie was nominated six times for his lead performance on “House,” but he never won. Still, the respect is there, as he was wisely acknowledged for a nuanced turn as the unpredictable antagonist in “The Night Manager.” But he’s going up against the fresh face of Sterling K. Brown, up for his first Emmy in a breakout turn on “The People v. O.J. Simpson.” Brown earned more and more critical praise as the episodes rolled up, as he brought compassion, depth and complexity to what could have been a mere stand-in part. He made that would-be audience surrogate so much more.
That being said, a few fan favorites could also become threats here. Bokeem Woodbine had a big year on “Fargo,” and the FX anthology has a huge support base within the Academy (which could also help Jesse Plemons). John Travolta could tote his two Oscar nominations to steal some votes for a role either loved or hated, while David Schwimmer could get some love for putting “Friends” behind him with an empathetic turn in the same series.
Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Supporting 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.
- Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
- Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”
- Jesse Plemons, “Fargo”
- David Schwimmer, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
- John Travolta, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
- Bokeem Woodbine, “Fargo”
Will Win: Sterling K. Brown, “The People v. O.J. Simpson”
Could Win: Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”
Should Win: Hugh Laurie, “The Night Manager”