‘Dahmer’ would join this very small group with Emmy wins for Evan Peters and Niecy Nash-Betts

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Evan Peters and his “Dahmer — Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story” co-star Niecy Nash-Betts are currently the odds-on favorites to take home the Emmys for Best Limited Series/TV Movie Actor and Best Limited Series/TV Movie Supporting Actress, respectively. If both prevail in January, “Dahmer” will join a very small group of programs that have bagged both prizes.

Since the limited series/TV movie supporting acting categories were created in 1975, only four programs have won both awards. The first to do it was the telefilm “The Promise” (1986), which racked up victories for James Woods in lead and Piper Laurie in supporting. It was followed by another TV movie, 1996’s “Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny” (Alan Rickman and Greta Scacchi), and the two-part miniseries “George Wallace” in 1998 (Gary Sinise and Mare Winningham).

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Rounding out the quartet is another miniseries, “Angels in America,” which triumphed for Al Pacino in lead and Mary Louise-Parker in supporting in 2004, but its inclusion in this group comes with an asterisk. Unlike the three aforementioned programs, the HBO series scooped up additional acting wins, for Meryl Streep in actress and Jeffrey Wright in supporting actor.

This would make “Dahmer” just the fifth program — and third series — to accrue actor and supporting actress trophies in limited and the first to do it under the popular vote system. Under this system, which was introduced in 2016, there have only been three instances in which a program that won either honor was also up for the other — “The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story” (nominated for Darren Criss in lead and Penélope Cruz and Judith Light in supporting) in 2018, “When They See Us” (lead: Jharrel Jerome; supporting: Vera Farmiga and Marsha Stephanie Blake) in 2019 and “Dopesick” (lead: Michael Keaton; supporting: Kaitlyn Dever and Winningham) in 2022. In all three, the male lead walked away triumphant, but, to be fair, each one had an easier path to the victory than the supporting actress nominees from their show. Not only was each one the clear frontrunner heading into Emmy night, but they also didn’t have to worry about potentially splitting the vote with a co-star.

SEE Evan Peters (‘Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story’) on how listening to music and freewriting helped him enter the mind of a serial killer [Exclusive Video Interview]

“Dahmer” is in a better position as neither Peters nor Nash-Betts is up against a castmate and both have been the season-long frontrunners in their respective categories. Each of them has already won a notable prize — Peters, the Golden Globe; Nash-Betts, the Critics Choice Award — and also received aScreen Actors Guild Award nomination for their turn as Jeffrey Dahmer and Glenda Cleveland, respectively, on the Netflix series. What’s more, they could both get an additional boost from outside factors: Peters could capitalize on residual goodwill for his “Mare of Easttown” performance, which earned him his first and to date only Emmy in 2021, while Nash-Betts, a five-time nominee still in search of her first victory, could cash in her Emmy IOU.

The biggest hurdle for each of them is that they face a formidable challenger in the No. 2 spot in our odds. The tighter race right now is between Peters (18/5 odds) and Steven Yeun of Netflix stablemate “Beef” (39/10) in actor, most likely since “Beef” is already the predicted frontrunner in four other categories, including series and actress for Ali Wong, and Peters is still untested against Yeun. Nash-Betts (5/1 odds), on the other hand, already beat her biggest rival, Claire Danes (11/2), at Critics Choice, but you would be a fool to count out the latter — a three-time Emmy winner who could win yet again on the strength of the “Me-Time” episode of “Fleishman” alone.

“Dahmer” also didn’t exactly take the acting categories by storm. While it snagged a third bid, for Richard Jenkins in supporting actor, it missed out on mentions for other key cast members, including four-time Emmy champ Michael Learned and breakout star Rodney Burford. In all fairness, no one outside of Peters, Nash-Betts and Jenkins was predicted to make the cut, per our odds, but given how open the limited series/TV movie acting categories were and how visible “Dahmer” was as a (hugely popular) Netflix fall release, the show should’ve been able to land recognition beyond its core trio if members of the TV academy’s acting branch were truly in the tank for it. By contrast, though neither “Beef” nor “Fleishman” maxed out in acting either, both at least raked in one nomination that wasn’t forecasted by our odds — the former, supporting actor for Joseph Lee; the latter, actress for Lizzy Caplan.

Another way of looking at “Dahmer’s” acting total, though, is that voters just checked off the show’s three main faces. While the series boasts plenty of awards-worthy turns — justice for Burford, who gives a devastating, career-making performance as Tony Hughes, one of Dahmer’s 17 murder victims — Peters, Nash-Betts and Jenkins have both the most screen time of anyone in the cast and the juiciest parts. And considering Peters and Nash-Betts have already won accolades for their work on the show, there should be no doubt that each has enough individual support to go all the way.

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