The Limited Series and TV movie categories are going to be the most nail-biting of the entire Emmy season. They are crammed with excellent entertainment and stacked with insanely strong ensemble performances. Going into the summer, it seemed that ABC’s American Crime (not to be confused with American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson on FX) was sure to get a boatload of attention–and it’s still probably true. Keep your fingers crossed that this drama still resonates with voters.
The first season of American Crime landed a surprising 10 nominations, including four acting nominations for performers Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, Regina King (who walked away with the show’s only win), and Richard Cabral, respectively. The presence at last year’s nominations seemed to impress and surprise a lot of people (myself included), so it feels like the show has a lot to live up to. It feels like it’s on a lot more radars anyway.
Does the second season have the possibility to replicate last year’s success? Yes, I believe it does. Limited Series is extra competitive this year, however. What can John Ridley’s drama realistically be nominated for in this crowded year? One might want to start with the acting nominations.
Felicity Huffman is an Emmy Award favorite. She was nominated for Crime‘s first season last year, and she’s a previous winner for ABC’s beloved Desperate Housewives. Her name alone should guarantee her a nomination in the Lead Actress category, but her character is not the most likable. In the first season she played a grieving mother who loses her son to a horrific crime, and time around she’s harder and more ambitious. It’s a tricky role, but Huffman leaves you leaning in the entire time. She’s watchable as all hell.
If there’s any justice in this world, Lili Taylor will be nominated as the ferocious mother trying to protect her son from a privileged and vicious high school world. It’s consistent and heartbreaking turn, and Taylor imbues every scene with a terrified strength. As much as I adore Huffman, Taylor is the real series standout.
I hesitate to think that Timothy Hutton will get himself a second consecutive spot since it felt like he was barely in the show (he’s featured a lot more in the last few episodes). Maybe Ridley should have had Hutton bawling his face off in a dirty restroom again? Connor Jessup is the true lead of the show this season, but he’s being campaigned in the Supporting Actor category. He’s quiet and reserved. It’s such a long shot in crowded year. Hutton would be the best shot in a field dominated with actors from American Crime Story and All the Way (not to mention yearly favorites like Benedict Cumberbatch and Idris Elba). Jessup stands out more than Cabral with his vulnerable performance.
Regina King might come back as a repeat nominee this year. Like all the categories with Limited Series, it’s tough to standout. Her tough, no-nonsense mother gets more screen time in the first half of the season, so it’d be wise for ABC to submit of her King’s earlier episodes.
The season itself is locked for Series and Writing. One of the great things about Ridley’s series is how it opens up a dialogue about the characters and their actions. Unlike Ryan Murphy’s sexy true crime saga, American Crime succeeds because the characters are fictional. There’s no direct connection to real life events (no matter how true they ring), and it starts conversations about privilege, race, and behavior that not a lot of other shows can boast.
Felicity Huffman, Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Regina King, Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Timothy Hutton, Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie
Lili Taylor, Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie
Connor Jessup, Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie