The Emmys, when it comes to Lead Actor in a Drama Series, is never really consistent in their selections. Brian Cox seems to be the frontrunner on paper for “Succession” but his co-star Jeremy Strong is also nominated alongside him. The last winner in that scenario was in 2017, when Sterling K. Brown, also nominated again this year for “This Is Us,” won the prize against his co-star and Milo Ventimiglia. In all the double dipping nominee history in this category, there have been 28 occurrences of it, and just 4 men who have won (Bill Cosby for “I Spy” x3, Ed Flanders & William Daniels x2 in separate years for “St. Elsewhere” with five instances between them, Dennis Franz x4 for “NYPD Blue,” and Brown). Some of the most prolific and jaw-dropping losses include when Matthew McConaughey who couldn’t capitalize on his Oscar win alongside Woody Harrelson for “True Detective” in 2014 and when Mandy Patinkin muscled out two sets of double nominees from “ER” (George Clooney and Anthony Edwards) and “NYPD Blue” (Franz and Jimmy Smits) in 1995. This year, Jason Bateman (“Ozark“) and reigning champ Billy Porter (“Pose“) are offering strong alternatives for an upset while Steve Carell (“The Morning Show“) is playing the long-overdue card at the table, which could just work.
It's been 19 years since the veteran actor Brian Cox won an Emmy Award. He won Supporting Actor in a Miniseries or a Movie for "Nuremberg" for which he played Reichsmarschall Hermann Goring. Since then, he's only popped up as a Guest Actor for an episode of "Frasier." To add, he was also the big snub of last year when "Succession" pulled in zero acting nominations.
He feels like the frontrunner but the TV Academy can look for familiar faces (a la Jim Parsons) or something completely from left field (a la Merrit Wever).
Jason Bateman pulled an upset last year winning Director for the episode "Reparations" and he is a beloved figure in the industry. He's also double nominated this year, along with Guest Actor in a Drama for his work as Terry Maitland in "The Outsider." He could be a threat to snag himself an acting win, which he hasn't been able to muster despite three previously over his career.
Brian Cox seems to be in the serious hunt, given how well "Succession" did with the overall nomination tally. They may feel like looking elsewhere for the category.
The reigning champ of the category made it back again this year and is still as popular as ever. Do they feel compelled to go back-to-back? Only one Black actor has won this category consecutively (Bill Cosby in 1967, 1968, and 1969 for "I Spy"). Additionally, Porter is also just the fourth Black actor to return to this category a second time, along with his fellow competitor Sterling K. Brown (others were the aforementioned Cosby and Andre Braugher).
"Pose" had the Drama Series nomination last year to help Porter out. This year, it only brought in Makeup alongside it.
10 nominations to his credit and Steve Carell has never won an Emmy and it's about time for him to get some love. Apple TV+ has mounted a strong campaign to get some major wins for "The Morning Show" despite its miss in Drama Series.
The show did miss Drama Series and three of his main competitors are in big contenders for the top prize. If they go for the show anywhere, it may be easier for Jennifer Aniston.
[EMMY SUBMISSION EPISODE • “After the Fire”] • The talented Sterling K. Brown has been a favorite of the TV Academy, winning back-to-back Emmys in 2016 and 2017 for his work in "American Crime Story" and for his beloved and nominated role as Randall Pearson in "This Is Us." Every season has brought him a nomination since, and this year, when it looked like he could miss out, he managed to get in again. Additionally, he's a double nominee this year along with "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel."
The series came up short in a lot of places and if he does stand a chance at gold again, it looks to be for "Maisel" rather than "Us."