Can Billy Porter Make Emmy History for “Pose”? I Say YES, HONEY!

The 71st Annual Primetime Emmy Awards are weeks away and it’s time to narrow down who I believe SHOULD WIN and WILL WIN at this years Emmys. Let’s take a look at Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.


  • Jason Bateman – Ozark
  • Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us
  • Kit Harington – Game of Thrones
  • Bob Odenkirk – Better Call Saul
  • Billy Porter – Pose
  • Milo Ventimiglia – This Is Us

Who Should and Will Win: Billy Porter, Pose


There isn’t an actor in this category more deserving of this award than Billy Porter from FX’s groundbreaking drama series Pose. Porter’s nomination comes from the season 1 episode “Love Is The Message” were Porter’s acting abilities were on center stage in a soulful, heart-wrenching performance that exceeding any other performance by an actor in this category. Porter took Pray Tell to new levels as we see the journey he’s on being the support system for his partner Costas (Johnny Sibilly), who’s slowly dying in a sparse and depressing hospital room from AIDS. At this point in the series, we know that Pray Tell has also been diagnosed as HIV-positive and now has to live with the mortality of what the disease may do to him, as well as some of the people who are the closest to him in his life.

Porter also gets to showcase his Tony and Grammy Award-winning voice in this episode, beautifully singing “For All We Know” in the style of Donny Hathaway for the AIDS patients in Costas’ hospital ward. Porter’s performance while singing to his dying partner had a gut-wrenching effect on whoever’s watching.

In predicting categories, sometimes it’s good to evaluating the pattern of past winners in a category. While discussing this category with my good friend Joey Moser, he pointed out an interesting statistic about this category. Since 2011, all winners of the Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series category won for either their series first or last seasons. The list of the last nine winners in this category are

  • 2011 – Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights (final season)
  • 2012 – Damian Lewis, Homeland (first season)
  • 2013 – Jeff Daniels, The Newsroom (first season)
  • 2014 – Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad (final season)
  • 2015 – Jon Hamm, Mad Men (final season)
  • 2016 – Rami Malek, Mr. Robot (first season)
  • 2017 – Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (first season)
  • 2018 – Matthew Rhys, The Americans (final season)

If we follow this pattern, it would align with the logic of Billy Porter being able to pull off a historic win in this category since the only other actor competing for a first or final season is Kit Harington (Game of Thrones).

A win for Billy Porter would be monumental. Porter is the first openly gay African American man to be nominated for an Emmy Award in the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, and Porter winning will reinforce the mainstream acceptance of a community that is finally getting a positive light shed the unique community that has been undervalued, underestimated and marginalized for way too long.

The 71st Annual Emmy Awards air Sunday, September 22nd at 8/7c on Fox.

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