Milo Ventimiglia and Sterling K. Brown are once again competing for Emmy gold. The two This Is Us co-stars were first pitted against each other last year, and while both men deserved the recognition, it would be Brown that stood at the podium with the award and a speech that was apparently too long. Now, the two are battling it out yet again for the 2018 Primetime Emmy Awards, and while we love Brown's Randall, there's no question that it's Ventimiglia's time to shine as the 2018 winner for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Drama Series.
This Is Us Season 2 was a rollercoaster all the way throughout, and while Sterling K. Brown certainly didn't disappoint with Randall's struggles with Deja, his coping with the loss of William and the overall lack of direction in life, Milo Ventimiglia's work was, undeniably, the driving performance of the season. The cause of Jack Pearson's death was a storyline two seasons in the making and a question that captivated a nation. For Ventimiglia, there was an added challenge of making fans feel for an event they already knew was happening, and he certainly didn't disappoint.
Every episode leading up to Jack's death had a powerful performance from Milo Ventimiglia that continued to build just how devastating the night of his death would be to the family. From Jack's struggles with alcoholism and recovery, to buying Kevin the suit he would inevitably wear to Jack's funeral, each event raised the emotional stakes to the episode of the big fire. Ventimiglia kept fans emotionally invested and continued to build tension all the way up to his "exit," and in doing so caused a major corporation to have a minor PR disaster. Did Sterling K. Brown have his moments? Sure, but he didn't have to do a commercial for Crock-Pot to ease fan tensions.
This is the main difference between Sterling K. Brown and Milo Ventimiglia in Season 2. Brown certainly had a powerful scene in Deja's initial goodbye, but he had the advantage of audiences actually witnessing such a dramatic moment. People get so wrapped up in the emotional thrill ride that was Jack's death, they might forget that the big moment happened completely off-camera. Ventimiglia made fans feel all sorts of sad post-Superbowl not because they saw him pass away in a dramatic fashion or because they didn't see it coming, but rather because he made us dread his eventual exit every episode he was on screen. That's powerful stuff, and certainly, something that shouldn't be overlooked by Emmy voters.
Sterling K. Brown is a phenomenal actor, and his increasingly significant roles in the past couple years only prove he's going to be around in Hollywood and at awards shows for years to come. That said, This Is Us might just be the peak performance of Milo Ventimiglia's long career in Hollywood so far, with Season 2 being a magical time where his name was on the lips of many Americans. An Emmy win for Best Actor wouldn't necessarily make a difference in fan love for Ventimiglia in the role, but it would be a great acknowledgment for every laugh, tear, and heart-warming moment the actor has given America as Jack Pearson. Plus, Brown already won Best Actor for Randall last year, so voters certainly should consider mixing things up at the very least!