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

While Andrew Garfield and Colin Firth may make it into the Best Actor in a Limited Series race, Michael Keaton continues to shine.

UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN — “When God Was Love” Episode 1 (Airs Wednesday, April 28th) — Pictured: Andrew Garfield as Jeb Pyre. CR: Michelle Faye/FX

Andrew Garfield in “Under the Banner of Heaven”

Michelle Faye / FX / Hulu


Last Year’s Winner: Ewan McGregor, “Halston”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: “American Crime Story” is the only series to win in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie category more than once, so there is a chance that Clive Owen could keep that streak going by being recognized for performance as President Bill Clinton in “Impeachment.”
Notable Ineligible Series: Tom Hiddleston, “Loki” (submitted as a Drama Series); Taron Egerton, “Black Bird” (the season will not air in time to be eligible); Woody Harrelson and Justin Theroux, “The White House Plumbers” (the season will not air in time to be eligible)

This article will be updated throughout the season, along with all our predictions, so make sure to keep checking IndieWire for the latest news from the 2022 Emmys race. The nomination round of voting will take place from June 16 to June 27, with the official Emmy nominations to be announced on Tuesday, July 12. The Creative Arts Emmy Awards will be given out over two consecutive nights on Saturday, September 3 and Sunday, September 4, with an edited presentation on the ceremonies to be broadcast on Saturday, September 10, at 8:00 p.m. ET on FXX. Finally, the 74rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards will take place on Monday, September 12, and air live on NBC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

The State of the Race

The biggest story to come out of this year’s Emmys race for Outstanding Limited or Anthology Series is the wave of true crime shows that have interestingly mostly been vehicles for women (“The Dropout,” “Inventing Anna,” “The Girl From Plainville,” etc.). However, the two limited series that were able to really make a last-minute splash are true crime shows with men at the lead.

Before “Under The Banner of Heaven,” his FX series that has caused waves with its depiction of a crime in the Mormon community, premiered in April, Andrew Garfield was already having the best year of his career so far, with his Oscar-nominated performance in “Tick Tick Boom” leading into his scene-stealing moments in “Spider-Man: No Way Home.” While recognition for playing detective characters has kind of fallen out of fashion in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited or Anthology Series or Movie category, Garfield could benefit from its recent trend of crowning performances from a younger generation of stars than the average actor nominated, like Riz Ahmed, Darren Criss, and Jharrel Jerome.

Joining Garfield in making a last-minute impression is Oscar-winner Colin Firth, who plays Michael Peterson, the real-life convicted perpetrator of a grisly domestic crime, on HBO Max’s “The Staircase.” Recently, there has been a lot of recognition of performances that attempt to dive into the minds of men at the center of a murder trial, like Hugh Grant in “The Undoing,” Cuba Gooding Jr. in “The People v. O. J. Simpson,” and the aforementioned Ahmed and Criss in “The Night Of” and “The Assassination of Gianni Versace,” respectively, so it is fair to assume Firth has a second Emmy nomination coming his way given how much attention the series, and the Peterson case, continue to get.

Oscar Isaac himself is receiving a lot of attention this Emmy season, but what may hurt him (though it is a great problem to have) is that many seem split on what Lead Actor in a Limited Series performance to nominate him for. While his role in “Scenes From a Marriage” has more prestige, that show itself came and went without much fanfare. Meanwhile his entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe as “Moon Knight” came more recently, was much showier, and had a much bigger audience. Paul Bettany already opened the door to the Disney+ superhero shows being nominated in this category, and despite criticisms of his shaky British accent, Isaac just has too much momentum to not seem like a lock.

In terms of a frontrunner for this category, look no further than “Dopesick” star Michael Keaton. The veteran actor has already won a Screen Actors Guild Award and Critic Choice Award this year for his performance as a small town doctor knocked down by the opioid crisis. Plus seeing him speak at the FYC event for the Hulu series, in an audience full of Emmy voters, Keaton was completely in his element, making people laugh, helping his co-star Michael Stuhlbarg answer a difficult question, and rallying the crowd to say, “I ain’t going down, I am not going down with these people, I am not taking their bullshit,” when the subject of politics came up.

As time goes on, it has only become more difficult to predict which actor will get that last nomination slot. There are certainly a lot of performances from shows that premiered earlier in the season that deserve a second look. Ultimately though, it has been very interesting to hear the reliably great Samuel L. Jackson talk not only about this standout role, but about the long fight to make “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey.” In a time of growing frustrations around working with streaming services, it feels like his candor will be appreciated.

Predicted Nominees:
Andrew Garfield, “Under The Banner of Heaven” (FX)
Colin Firth, “The Staircase” (HBO Max)
Michael Keaton, “Dopesick” (Hulu)
Oscar Isaac, “Moon Knight” (Disney+)
Samuel L. Jackson, “The Last Days of Ptolemy Grey” (Apple TV+)

Oscar Isaac, “Scenes From a Marriage” (HBO)
Sam Elliott, “1883” (Paramount+)
Sebastian Stan, “Pam & Tommy” (Hulu)

In a Perfect World:
Himesh Patel, “Station Eleven” (HBO Max)
Jon Bernthal, “We Own This City” (HBO)
William Jackson Harper, “Love Life” (HBO Max)

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