Emmy Hopefuls: When will Outlander star Sam Heughan get a nomination?

Outlander season 3 episode 6 photosThroughout the month of May we have been spotlighting contenders in our CarterMatt Emmy Hopefuls series that, for one reason or another, haven’t quite struck gold yet in the form of a nomination. Often, it’s been because of some oversight on the part of voters, and such is clearly the case for Outlander star Sam Heughan.

While we do think that there have been numerous snubs that have come Heughan’s way for his work on the Starz drama, none have been more egregious than his work in the second half of season 1 being over looked. His work in “Wentworth Prison” and “To Ransom a Man’s Soul” was gut-wrenching, heartbreaking, and quite possibly the best we’ve seen of almost any actor of the past five years. What Jamie went through with Jack Randall (Tobias Menzies) was haunting and traumatic; Heughan played those scenes in a way that captured the reality of his suffering. It was on another level.

Now, we’re entering another period following season 3 in which it is easy to make a case for Sam’s exemplary work. We’ve already made it clear in the past how much we appreciate his work in “Of Lost Things.” This is an episode that allowed him to emotionally run the gamut and focus on everything from personal vulnerability to Jamie’s complicated relationship with his son William. Beyond that, you also had the passion and emotional range of “A. Malcolm” coupled with the striking conflict present in “First Wife.” There was fantastic material for Heughan throughout season 3 that allowed him to flex multiple acting muscles — he was an action hero but also a broken man and a husband on the verge of rediscovery. There were delicate scenes but also intense ones. Sam has a wonderful understanding Jamie’s complicated journey, one the encompassed multiple chapters of his life.

The one part of Heughan’s performance over season 3 that is probably the most overlooked in our opinion, and the same goes for Caitriona Balfe (who will be the subject of her own Emmy Hopefuls piece soon), is taking on a character over multiple decades. Not only did Sam have to understand during this season who Jamie was at the time of Claire’s departure, but also the immediate aftermath of that, years down the road, and then even more years down the road. He had to find a way to build this character and understand the difference between these multiple iterations of Jamie. That is not easy when you consider how little time he had to build those iterations in contrast. All of them have to link to one another, but they also all have to be different enough so you can attach them all to separate periods.

By the end of the season, you can make the argument that Jamie is in a far better place. After all, he now has his great love back, and the two are set to start a new life for themselves in America. While this may be tremendously exciting, we have a pretty good feeling that new conflicts will arise — which, in turn, may set the stage for even more great material for Sam.

Why hasn’t the Emmy nomination happened before now? – It’s hard to sometimes get into the mind of the Emmy voter, especially since reasoning can change on an annual basis. We do feel like for Outlander in general has been victim to coming on in the Peak TV era where there are such a wide array of high quality programs on; beyond that, we’re just not sure that enough Emmy viewers going into this year have actually seen the show. They may have made incorrect assumptions about it or have just been too inundated with material on other shows. It does feel like there is more exposure for Outlander and the Emmys than ever — Starz and Sony have done a great job marketing the series this year — but the ball remains in the Emmys’ court to actually give this show the chance it deserves. While we would nominate him in a heartbeat many still have Sam listed as an underdog; hopefully it’s some of that underdog spirit that actually ends up being a driving force for him to secure a nomination in 2018. We’ll have more on the voting process, and our own Emmy article series, starting in June so be sure to look out for that.

Related Be sure to check out some other iterations of our Emmy Hopefuls series

Do you think that Sam is a worthy Emmy contender this year for Outlander? Share right now in the attached comments!

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