Chaske Spencer (‘The English’): From BAFTAs to Emmys?

Amazon Prime Video big bet on “The English” paid off. Critics and audiences alike embraced this lavish Western from Hugo Blick that starred Emily Blunt in her first major TV role in decades and showcased Chaske Spencer, best known for his role in the “Twilight” franchise.

Blunt plays Lady Cornelia Lockhart, who ventures to the American West of the 1890s to search for the man who was responsible for the death of her son. Along the way, she meets Spencer’s Eli Whipp/Wounded Wolf, a member of the Pawnee Nation who seeks to reclaim the land he is rightfully owed for his service in the US Army. The two share a bond as they travel together and it is this central relationship that forms the heart, soul, brain, and blood of the stunning series.

More from GoldDerby

Spencer holds his own opposite Blunt. His voice is exquisite, delivering every one of Blick’s lines of dialogue with authority and vigor. His physicality is equally impressive. His character remains silent for long stretches but the lines on his face and his eyes communicate so much. And his stance and movements often convey his character’s story. It’s impressive stuff — and critics agree.

Lucy Mangan (The Guardian) declared: “Spencer is a revelation – strong and silent, but also seething with frustration, intelligence, grief and the rage of a good man forced into terrible compromises.”

Brian Tallerico (Roger Ebert) observed: “Spencer understands how to carry regret in his body and his tone, capturing a man who may be numbed by what he’s seen perpetrated on his people but hasn’t allowed that to overwhelm his decency… They both have such wonderful voices, which give ‘The English’ the air of classic genre cinema at times if you close your eyes. Every time that Blunt and Spencer start volleying dialogue, it’s easy to just get lost in this show.”

Daniel Fienberg (The Hollywood Reporter) noted that the show features “satisfyingly badass lead performances” from both Blunt and Spencer, writing that “Spencer swaggers confidently as the Clint Eastwood/John Wayne archetype with a soulful, outsider twist. Together, they have a pleasing chemistry, without the series forcing it to necessarily be romantic.”

Boyd Hilton (Empire) explained: “Spencer’s Whipp radiates an unyielding determination to get what he wants. The underlying question of the whole saga is whether there can be any kind of future for these two: an aristocratic Englishwoman and a Pawnee scout. It’s a tale as old as time, but ‘The English’ makes it feel thrillingly fresh and different. Quite some achievement.”

Spencer sits just outside of our predicted six nominees for Best TV Movie/Limited Series Actor: Woody Harrelson (“White House Plumbers”), Michael Shannon (“George and Tammy”), Steven Yeun (“Beef”), Daniel Radcliffe (“Weird: The Al Yankovic Story”), Taron Egerton (“Black Bird”), and Evan Peters (“Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story”).

He has never been nominated for an Emmy before, so this would be a career first. That’s not necessarily bad news, however. Last year alone, four of the six nominations in this category went to first-time contenders: Sebastian Stan (“Pam & Tommy”), Himesh Patel (“Station Eleven”), Oscar Isaac (“Scenes From a Marriage”), and Andrew Garfield (“Under the Banner of Heaven”).

Indeed, in the last three years combined, seven of 16 nominations have gone to Emmy rookies. The others were Paul Bettany (in 2021 for “WandaVision”), Paul Mescal (in 2020 for “Normal People”), and Jeremy Pope (in 2020 for “Hollywood”). That’s just under half of the nominations going to debut-Emmy nominees, so Spencer could benefit from this curious track record in this category.

Spencer has already proven he can gain the support of a major awards body — he was nominated at this year’s BAFTA TV awards for Best Actor (he lost to Emmy competitor Ben Whishaw for “This is Going to Hurt”), one of five nominations the show received. What was particularly impressive was that Spencer reaped a BAFTA bid but Blunt didn’t. Usually, the BAFTAs like rewarding fellow Brits, but they didn’t hesitate to nominate the American Spencer. That suggests that there is a fair amount of passion for Spencer’s turn in “The English.”

Of his Emmy competition, Peters, Egerton, Radcliffe, and Yeun are all younger performers  while Harrelson is a previous Emmy winner. Spencer, along with Shannon, is a slightly older actor who has worked tirelessly as an actor in various projects. But while Shannon has had some recognition (two Oscar nominations), Spencer hasn’t. This is the ideal time to give him the due his career deserves, for a role that finally lives up to his talents.

Make your predictions at Gold Derby now. Download our free and easy app for Apple/iPhone devices or Android (Google Play) to compete against legions of other fans plus our experts and editors for best prediction accuracy scores. See our latest prediction champs. Can you top our esteemed leaderboards next? Always remember to keep your predictions updated because they impact our latest racetrack odds, which terrify Hollywood chiefs and stars. Don’t miss the fun. Speak up and share your huffy opinions in our famous forums where 5,000 showbiz leaders lurk every day to track latest awards buzz. Everybody wants to know: What do you think? Who do you predict and why?

SIGN UP for Gold Derby’s free newsletter with latest predictions

Best of GoldDerby

Sign up for Gold Derby's Newsletter. For the latest news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.