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The prince, the duke or the lord of the ballroom? Emmy Experts are royally divided over Best Actor race

Last year’s Emmy winner for Best Drama Actor, Jeremy Strong (“Succession”) isn’t eligible to defend his title in 2021 since his show didn’t air new episodes during the eligibility period. That opens the door for a new champion — or the return of a previous champion. So who will it be? The Expert journalists we’ve surveyed are divided between several contenders, with three in particular riding high in their rankings. And it could be a royal affair.

Following his victories at the Golden Globes and Critics Choice Awards, Josh O’Connor is the front-runner for playing Prince Charles in the fourth season of “The Crown,” with 15 Experts betting on him to win. The Netflix historical drama has yet to be nominated in this category since it primarily focuses on the reign of Charles’s mum, Queen Elizabeth II (played this season by Olivia Colman), but season four largely revolved around Charles’s marriage to Princess Diana (Best Drama Actress front-runner Emma Corrin). And “The Crown” is the heavy favorite to win Best Drama Series for the first time, further raising O’Connor’s profile in this race.

But six Experts think Emmy voters will choose a duke over a prince. They say “Bridgerton’s” dashing romantic lead Rege-Jean Page is the man to beat. The show quickly made him a favorite of viewers and industry members: he won at the fan-voted MTV Movie and TV Awards and was nominated by his peers alongside O’Connor at the SAG Awards (they both lost to “Ozark’s” Jason Bateman, who is ineligible for this year’s Emmys). And he was invited to host “Saturday Night Live” this past spring, so he could get an extra nomination for Best Comedy Guest Actor.

Pray Tell doesn’t technically have a royal title on “Pose,” but that’s really just a technicality. Billy Porter plays the lord of the ballroom who slays like a queen, and he was the king of this category in 2019. Four Experts predict that he’ll return to the winner’s circle for the show’s final season, where Pray Tell reckoned with his past as he continued his battle with AIDS. Of these top three contenders, he’s the only one who has gotten a perfect 10 from Emmy voters before, so don’t be surprised if he wears the crown again.

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?

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