Eight Well-Deserved 2019 EMMY Nominations

The 2019 EMMY nominations were revealed today and let me say, there is a LOT to be happy about as far as nods go. From HBO’s “Game of Thrones” to Netflix’s “When They See Us,” the field is flush with worthy candidates to take home television’s Golden Lady. With the full list available for viewing here, there are certain nominations that made me smile just a bit wider. Made me cheer just a bit louder. Made me believe a little bit more in the power of powerful performances. And the actors that make those roles come to life. Here are eight nominations that are definitely well-deserved. Let’s go!


CHRIS SULLIVAN

“THIS IS US” NBC

NOMINATION: OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES

Even with all the ups and downs of the Pearsons, one thing has remained true for the entirety of the series’ run: Everybody Loves Toby. Seems third time’s a charm for Sullivan, whose storyline this season centered on his bouts with depression and dealing with the joy and fear of becoming a parent. Kudos to Sullivan. He did good work this season.


MICHAEL KENNETH WILLIAMS

“WHEN THEY SEE US” NETFLIX

NOMINATION: OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A MOVIE

Playing the father of Antron McCray of the Central Park Five, was never going to be easy for Michael Kenneth Williams. It would be traumatic, and heartbreaking, and force the actor to revisit childhood atrocities. And for the New York-born actor, he delivered. Seeing him embody the role of a man broken by his betrayal was defintiely Emmy-worthy. Here’s hoping he has a reason to celebrate in September.


PHYLCIA RASHAD

“THIS IS US” NBC

NOMINATION: OUTSTANDING GUEST ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES

I’ll remember three things from the “Our Little Island Girl” episode during Season 3 of “This Is Us”: the Aretha and Lianna La Havas versions of “Say a Little Prayer,” Carl Lumbly repeating the title of the show along with the chaser “the one who could dance before she walked,” and the performance of Rashad as (my favorite) Beth’s (Susan Kelechi Watson) mother. A high school principal by day and a worrying mom by night, Rashad made magic happen in the role, creating a synergy with Watson that begs her to be back in future seasons. One can only hope that an Emmy nom (or win!) can make that happen. 


MAHERSHALA ALI

“TRUE DETECTIVE” HBO

NOMINATION: OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A MOVIE

Is there anything Ali can’t do? I say no. On the heels of his Oscar win, the Bay Area native continues to display a talent that transcends genres. “True Detective” has been known to burn a little slow, and Ali had to carry the extra baggage of being a Vietnam vet having flashbacks. Even with all of that baggage, he gave a striking performance and might just take home another trophy for his trouble.


ASANTE BLACKK

“WHEN THEY SEE US” NETFLIX

NOMINATION: OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A MOVIE

Talk about a surprise. But then again, we really shouldn’t be surprised that Blackk, who played a young Kevin Richardson of the Central Park Five, was nominated for this role. The sheer terror in his eyes and voice during the interrogation, the bewilderment that he embodied as he was tricked into a wrongful confession, his heartwrenching reaction when the verdict was read… all of that adds up to a well-deserved nomination and an auspicious start to what promises to be a long, rewarding career.


NIECY NASH

“WHEN THEY SEE US” NETFLIX

NOMINATION: OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A MOVIE

Sometimes there are no words for what actors make us feel. It’s the chills, the tears that well up unexpectedly, the fear or animus you feel as you watch them in character… sometimes all of that happens, and you just let it. Known for her comedic roles, Nash proved that she is that woman that can do both, hitting us hard with her performance in “When They See Us.” She went from hardcore mother of two who would not bend at the thought of her son living a transgender life to a saved and holy advocate for a son that spent his formative years in prison. She gave us all of the emotions. The entire spectrum. Hopefully, when we see her next, she’ll be giving an acceptance speech on the Emmy stage. 


JOHN LEGUIZAMO

“WHEN THEY SEE US” NETFLIX

NOMINATION: OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A MOVIE

I remember saying when I first saw Leguizamo in the role as Raymond Santana, Sr. that he should win all of the awards for this role. It was the way he approached it, going from sometimes confused to always supportive that gave the role the nuance and the understated brilliance it required. He made the father seem human, with flaws and always with his son’s best interest at heart. It was a master class in subtlety that will maybe earn Leguizamo another piece of acting hardware to place on his mantle. 


JHARREL JEROME

“WHEN THEY SEE US” NETFLIX

NOMINATION: OUTSTANDING LEAD ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR A MOVIE

What more can I say? I was front and center asking the Television Academy to nominate this young man for their highest honor. I was very forthcoming about how his performance as Korey Wise in the limited series was transformative. Breathtaking. Heartaching. Revelatory. Thankfully, they listened. And gave him that honor, a nomination as LEAD actor for a role that iwll not soon be forgotten and will be forever praised for its all-around magificence. I’m calling it now: Jerome will win big on Emmy Night. Bank on it. 


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