×

‘This Is Us,’ ‘Westworld,’ ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Emmy Strength Comes From Ensembles

Teamwork can be a powerful thing. Just ask four of the nominees for the lead actor in a drama at this year’s Emmys.

Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia, of “This Is Us,” and Ed Harris and Jeffrey Wright, of “Westworld,” fill out the majority of the category. Elsewhere among dramas, “Game of Thrones” is represented by both Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Peter Dinklage in the supporting actor race, while three supporting actresses from “The Handmaid’s Tale” — Alexis Bledel, Ann Dowd and Yvonne Strahovski — are nominated, too. And limited series “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” and sketch-comedy standard “Saturday Night Live” both split five nominations apiece across their fields’ two supporting categories.

Multiple nominees from the same series competing might seem at first blush to be likely to eat into one another’s support. But the phenomenon works to demonstrate the breadth of talent on display — they also make that show the story of the category, suggesting that, say, “SNL” or “Westworld” is where the acting heat is.

What’s particularly impressive about this year’s ensembles is how far-flung many of them are. Ventimiglia and Brown exist in two different timelines of “This Is Us,” as do Harris and Wright on HBO’s “Westworld.” And though they play brothers, Coster-Waldau and Dinklage rarely interact these days on “Game of Thrones.” These ensembles, featuring actors working in the same style but rarely in the same frame, function a bit like a shock-and-awe campaign — demonstrating broad and diverse talent with something for any voter. It’s impressive, too, that, say, Harris and Wright manage to pull off performances so tonally congruent without having one another to work opposite.

But the kind of show that may end up impressing Emmy voters the most is one in which actors nominated together put their talents to work in direct collaboration with one another.

On “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Dowd has shared scenes with both Strahovski and — memorably, in the season finale — Bledel. And on “Saturday Night Live,” actors bounce off one another in endless combinations. Little wonder that Dowd and “SNL’s” Kate McKinnon were among the several acting winners last year (along with Riz Ahmed, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern and Brown) to win in a field in which they were up alongside a co-star or two. If anything, the presence of their co-stars was a potent reminder to voters of how well these performers fit into gifted ensembles. Very few shows can thrive on a single performer’s star power — and the crowded categories at this year’s Emmys reflect, instead, the power of all.

More TV

  • Bohemian Rhapsody

    'Bohemian Rhapsody,' 'Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Among Cinema Audio Society Winners

    Queen biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” won the Cinema Audio Society’s top prize for sound mixing at Saturday night’s 55th annual CAS Awards. The film is Oscar-nominated for sound mixing this year along with “Black Panther,” “First Man,” “Roma” and “A Star Is Born.” In a surprise over heavy-hitters “Incredibles 2” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” Wes [...]

  • Marvelous Mrs Maisel Vice

    'Vice,' 'The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel' Lead Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Winners

    Adam McKay’s Dick Cheney biopic “Vice,” starring Oscar nominees Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Sam Rockwell, won two awards at the sixth annual Make-Up and Hair Stylists Guild Awards Saturday night. The film won for best period and/or character makeup as well as special makeup effects. “Mary Queen of Scots” received the prize for period [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Good Morning America

    Jussie Smollett Angrily Denies Complicity in Attack

    Attorneys for “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett issued a statement Saturday denying that he orchestrated his Jan. 29 assault, and saying he is “angered” and “devastated” by recent developments in the case. Chicago police want to interview Smollett, after learning new evidence from two Nigerian brothers who were released on Friday night. Local media outlets have [...]

  • Jussie Smollett Empire

    Chicago Police Want to Talk to Jussie Smollett as New Evidence Emerges

    Chicago police are seeking to re-interview “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, after new evidence emerged in his alleged assault. Smollett has claimed that two men attacked him at 2 a.m. on Jan. 29, yelled racial and homophobic slurs, poured bleach on him, and put a noose around his neck. The Chicago Police Department has consistently said [...]

  • Five Takes on Canal Plus, Federation’s

    Just Days Left to Catch Canal Plus’ ‘The Bureau’ on MyFFF

    The most lauded of titles on this year’s MyFrenchFilmFestival, UniFrance’s online showcase featured by over 50 OTT services around the world, may not be a film but a drama series. With four seasons aired, and a milestone in world sales on a French TV show, slow-boiling espionage series ‘Le Bureau des légendes’ (“The Bureau”) is [...]

  • Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith

    Walt Disney Archives Founder Dave Smith Dies at 78

    Walt Disney Archives founder Dave Smith, the historian who spent 40 years cataloging and preserving the company’s legacy of entertainment and innovation, died Friday in Burbank, Calif. He was 78. Smith served as Disney’s chief archivist from 1970 to 2010. He was named a Disney Legend in 2007 and served as a consultant to the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content