Emmys
Emmys 2016 PEOPLE v. O.J. SIMPSON

Emmys 2016: People v. O.J. Simpson Mystery Solved — Who Are the Leads?

If the category fits, you shall compete in it…?

Before and after this Wednesday’s New York City screening of The People v. O.J. Simpson‘s finale (airing April 6), there was much chatter among the press about how FX might divvy up its freshman anthology series’ across-the-board impressive cast when it comes to the Primetime Emmy Awards’ lead and supporting races.

Sarah Paulson — a three-time Emmy nominee for her American Horror Story turns alone — is of course a shoo-in to vie in the Lead Actress in a Limited Series race, for her compelling portrayal of beleaguered prosecutor Marcia Clark. But what of the many men in the ensemble?

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that Paulson will indeed compete as a lead, as will Courtney B. Vance (who plays Johnnie Cochran) and Cuba Gooding Jr. (as accused double-murderer O.J. Simpson).

Everyone else on the cast — including John Travolta (peculiar yet mesmerizing as Robert Shapiro), Sterling K. Brown (excellent as Christopher Darden) and David Schwimmer (playing FOJuice Robert Kardashian) — will be entered in the supporting races.

Next up for FX under the header of “Embarrassment of Riches” is the equally difficult decision about where to position its other Emmy bait, perennial contender American Horror Story and the better-with-age Fargo.

Given the tiniest threads of continuity within each (reoccurring characters and characters played at different ages, respectively), both shows are technically eligible to compete as Drama Series (where they would ostensibly vie against FX’s thus-far-unsung The Americans), should the cabler choose not to overload the Limited Series side of the ballot.

Horror Story thus far, however, has stayed put as a Limited Series (fka Miniseries), where for the past four cycles it has amassed anywhere from 17 to 19 nominations and grabbed gold a total of 13 times.

Who on the People v. O.J. cast do you think is most worthy of Emmy love?

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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49 Comments
  1. matty says:

    My thought is that Paulson, Sterling and Vance are leads, while the rest are supporting. I think Travolta belongs in supporting for the lone fact that on name alone he could defeat his more deserving co-stars in lead.

    • dan says:

      I agree completely. OJ is a supporting character in his own story. Cuba Gooding Jr. should compete in the supporting category. Paulson, Sterling and Vance are the leads. Travolta could be considered more of a lead than Gooding, Jr. but I can see why they’d put him as supporting.

      • johnhelvete says:

        I actually think supporting works in Sterling K Brown’s favor. Paulson and Vance are locks, and Brown is by far the most deserving nominee among the rest of the cast, he is absolutely fantastic. His nomination is the one I will be pulling for the most this year.

    • ? says:

      It seems that way to me now, too, but we should remember Gooding had a lot of powerful material in the beginning of the series and may have much more before it’s over. He’s been in a supporting role for the last few weeks, for sure, but this decision was probably made considering all the episodes.

  2. Robby says:

    Let’s not forget Nathan Lane’s remarkable work as F. Lee Bailey. For anyone who only knows him from The Birdcage and Broadway, this role has been revelatory. Completely unrecognizable and fascinating to watch.

    • I hope he is at least nominated. He’s been terrific, but hopefully they will place Sterling Brown in a supporting category so that he won’t have to compete with Courtney Vance. And Sarah Paulsen has nailed her role–what a shame that both she and Kirsten Dunst can’t both win this year. But I have seen nobody that deserves winning more than Brown and Vance this year. And Ryan Murphy deserves to be applauded for his work here–makes you wonder why his other stuff doesn’t compare with this level of artistry.

      • matty says:

        And Paulson and Dunst also have to compete against Kerry Washington in “Confirmation” which is sure to be a major player in the Movie/Limited Series categories.

  3. Court says:

    Sarah Paulson and Sterling K. Brown are stand-outs in this series. They deserve all the recognition in the world. Sterling K. Brown has really, really stood out to me. Courtney B. Vance is wonderful too.

    Cuba should be supporting, without a doubt.

    I’ve been impressed with David and John too.

  4. EJ says:

    Cuba Gooding Jr. shouldn’t even get a nomination. He’s horribly miscast as OJ and his performance is nothing impressive, either.

    • The Beach says:

      Yes, yes, yes. Thank you for saying that. What horrible casting. Gooding looks and sounds nothing at all like Simpson and he has over-acted the entire show. Where oh where was Shemar Moore when you needed him most??

  5. GuessWhat says:

    just GIVE the lead EMMYs now to Paulson and Vance !

    • Possibly Vance, but Paulson will be in really competitive company. Felicity Huffman, possibly Lili Taylor and definitely Kirsten Dunst. All three were extraordinary this year and if The Emmys were purely about celebrating excellent performances, they would all have a better shot than Sarah. But TPVOJ had a huge budget, big stars and was always marketed as a big deal so Sarah definitely has that in her favour.

      • The Beach says:

        You just listed all of my favorites in the category except for Vera Farmiga and Keri Russell who I would also add. Wow, this is the deepest competition at the Emmys.

      • drhenning says:

        Dunst is a slam dunk though probably more people have watched the OJ show and seen Paulson… I saw her the other night with Colbert and she certainly prettied up..

        • matty says:

          The three prime contenders are Kirsten Dunst in Fargo, Sarah Paulson in People Vs. Oj Simpson and Kerry Washington in Confirmation. I doubt anybody other than these three have a sincere shot at winning.

      • ToyCannon says:

        Are TV Movies still combined in this category? If so, Audra McDonald is also a strong contender for her role as Billie Holiday. And don’t count out Lady Gaga, who somehow snagged the Golden Globe for this category earlier this year.

  6. Abe Froman says:

    Cuba doesn’t belong anywhere on an Emmy list. He is totally unconvincing as OJ Simpson.

    • Maybe a nomination for Big Time in Hollywood Florida–one of the funniest shows of the past season. But no, not for OJ–he was sorely miscast here, and ironically, he didn’t have that critical of a role in the series.

    • The Beach says:

      They obviously made a great attempt, in both casting and make-up, to make all the characters look very much like their real life counter-parts…all except for the title character. How Gooding got cast is a mystery to me.

  7. Ann says:

    I thought the Emmys changed the definitions of some categories so that Horror Story is considered as a Drama Series and Orange is the New Black is not a comedy, but a Drama.

  8. spindae2 says:

    It really doesn’t matter as American Crime should win all the awards in limited series. It is just beyond.

    • Totally I agree. The People vs OJ will probably get a lot of attention because it has a big budget and star power but creatively American Crime is a superior show. I just hope Felicity Huffman, Connor Jessup, Lili Taylor and Joey Pollari are not overlooked. In terms of actual performance, they did a much better job than the OJ cast combined!

      • spindae2 says:

        They really nailed it. I mean all those young actors and the Evy actress delivered outstanding performances week after week. I hope they will be recognized and awarded for their work.

    • Ann says:

      No. American Crime on ABC? That show fell apart the moment they moved away from the rape storyline and made it all about a school shooting.

      • It was always about the rape storyline. That’s why it was so powerful – they were able to go in different directions but still keep the uncertainty surrounding the rape accusations as the focus. They did a great job in exploring the way one crime can have a snowball effect and touch everyone in a community in different ways. The shooting was collateral damage in the greater war between the institution and the individual. Powerful stuff!

      • It was always about the rape storyline. That’s why it was so impactful – they were able to explore the ways that one crime can have a snowball and affect everybody in a community in different ways. The shooting was collateral damage in the greater war between the institution and the individual. Powerful stuff!

      • spindae2 says:

        It delivered outstandingly, it evolved the story in a beautifully painful way extending the reppercussions of the rape in a act of desperation.

  9. Simon says:

    Fargo should win all the awards in all of the lands……so effing good……excuse my language

  10. Guy says:

    If Fargo ends up in the limited series category as well, I’m hoping it sweeps. People v OJ is entertaining for sure, but has nothing on the far superior Fargo, which was so stunning in its second season. And as much as Sarah Paulson has absolutely nailed her role as Marcia Clark, I still have to root for Kirsten Dunst.
    And honestly I really don’t see any of the male actors on PvOJ as leads, especially not Cuba Gooding Jr.

  11. johnhelvete says:

    Considering what John Landgraf had to say about True Detective season 1 being submitted for Best Drama by HBO, there is no way FX will submit Fargo or American Horror Story in Drama. If he did, Landgraf would be a hypocrite and he is one of the smartest TV execs.

    • Sasha says:

      What the hell are you talking about? Dude is making huge category fraud after category fraud. Fargo is a continuing drama series and it competing in limited series is such a humongous fraud. Probably the biggest ever. It has to be submitted in drama category. Oh you’re probably FX plant so nevermind.

  12. Jay says:

    They need to enter Fargo into the Drama category. Kirsten Dunst was amazing. Thought she’d be a shoo in for an Emmy until I saw Sarah Paulson in American Crime Story. They both deserve Emmys!

  13. Sasha says:

    After what happened in season finale of Fargo 2nd season there’s no way it’s a limited series. It’s a continuing drama series hands down and should be submitted as such. It’s gonna be massive category fraud if it competes in limited series. Btw isn’t drama series the most prestigious category of them all? And Fargo would make this category with quite an ease, it’s 2nd season is beyond brilliant. Kirsten Dunst would have become a frontrunner in drama actress, Patrick Wilson and Jesse Plemmons would be very competitive in drama actor and Jean Smart, Cristin Milioti, Bookeem Woodbine, Jeffrey Donovan and Nick Offerman would also be very competitive in supporting categories. So FX show you have some balls and do not cheat all the time, submit Fargo in drama categories where it belongs. I also consider shows like American Crime Story and American Horror Story as drama series but if you have to cheat and put them in limited series so be it. Although it’s still cheating. Do not submit at all AHS because this season was absolutely atrocious. Make it easier and submit only ACS, oh and the leads are Paulson and Vance. And if you have to have third person in leading go for Brown not Gooding Jr. (who should be competing for TV Razzie). Make smart choices FX.

    • Erin Lowrie says:

      Good comment! I agree with everything here! Especially nothing for AHS Hotel. It was not a good season and the only person I would nominate would be Denis O’Hare. It would be baffling for Lady Gaga to beat out Paulson and Dunst!

  14. scb says:

    The finale airs April 5th, not 6th. When it comes to the Emmys this year, things will be interesting when it comes to all the Limited Series categories.

  15. Los nominados y GANADORES deben ser como actores principales PAULSON Y VANCE como actor de soporte STERLING son los grandes protagonistas de OJ y con las mejores actuaciones de la serié, toda la suerte en especial a ellos 3 brillaron a lo grande.

  16. John Davis says:

    Please, Emmys:

    LEAD ACTRESS LIMITED SERIES
    Felicity Huffman (American Crime)
    Lady Gaga (AHS: Hotel)
    Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story) – WINNER
    Kirsten Dunst (Fargo)
    Sarah Hay (Flesh and Bone)

    LEAD ACTOR LIMITED SERIES
    Timothy Hutton (American Crime)
    Courtney B. Vance (American Crime Story) – WINNER
    Patrick Wilson (Fargo)
    Oscar Isaac (Show Me a Hero)
    Connor Jessup (American Crime)
    Cuba Gooding Jr. (American Crime Story)

    SUPPORTING ACTOR LIMITED SERIES
    John Travolta (American Crime Story) – WINNER
    Sterling K. Brown (American Crime Story)
    Matt Bomer (AHS: Hotel)
    Denis O’Hare (AHS: Hotel)
    Nathan Lane (American Crime Story)
    Elvis Nolasco (American Crime)

    SUPPORTING ACTRESS LIMITED SERIES
    Regina King (American Crime)
    Lili Taylor (American Crime) – WINNER
    Kathy Bates (AHS: Hotel)
    Angela Basset (AHS: Hotel)
    Jean Smart (Fargo)

    LIMITED SERIES
    American Crime – WINNER
    Fargo
    American Horror Story: Hotel
    Flesh and Bone
    American Crime Story: The People v O.J. Simpson
    The Wiz Live!

  17. Hedy S. says:

    Cuba and Scwinmer should be excluded, their acting is so poor. Still waiting for him to say to Selma Blair ” but I thought we were on a break?!”

  18. Cas says:

    Am the only one who can’t stand John Travolta? Seriously he has had way too much plastic surgery. His lips barely move when he speaks and his face well just awful. I can’t even look at the screen when he is on.

  19. Erin Lowrie says:

    Sarah Paulson and Sterling K Brown have been fantastic and the whole show has been so good. The emmys are going to be tough with great seasons from People vs OJ, Fargo and the Leftovers too. I wish Paulson and Dunst could both win!

  20. JEF says:

    Cuba Gooding was so miscast as OJ that it almost ruined the series for me. Everyone else was perfect!

  21. Al James says:

    Sarah Paulson and Courtney B.Vance both deserve Emmys! Brilliant!