We are now six weeks away from the Emmy nominations and one of the big series contenders is Bridgerton. Bridgerton is one of two high profile drama series considerations for Netflix, alongside The Crown, so Regé-Jean Page’s Variety cover feature, which came out last week, was released just in time for the Memorial Day long weekend in the US, as Television Academy voters are thinking about what to nominate. And Bridgerton is definitely one of the shows that many, many voters will have seen. A lot of people watched Bridgerton during the holidays – it was Netflix’s 2020 holiday offering, now an annual tradition.
So awareness is certainly not a challenge for Bridgerton and RJP – but prestige might be a factor. There is great acting in Bridgerton and craft from all levels of industry, like costume and set design, hair and makeup. The issue, however, might be storytelling. To be clear, my issue is not with the storytelling (save for one particular story arc, the controversial one, obviously) but the issue that voters might have with the storytelling in that, well, despite how good the writing is, and how well the characters are drawn and acted, Bridgerton is also frothy and Bridgerton is adored by women…and we have seen in the past how certain awards boards don’t reward content that connects with women, which has always been content that comes from Shondaland.
RJP’s category is Leading Actor in a Drama Series and it would be a major snub if he doesn’t get nominated so the question here is… can he win? This is part of the goal of his Variety profile: to position Regé-Jean Page as a frontrunner and maybe even give the Television Academy one extra reason to push him through – this piece is all about how RJP will be a major force in the business for years to come, that this is just his breakthrough, the beginning. In the six months since Bridgerton premiered (only six months!) he now no longer has to audition, big directors, like the Russo Brothers, of big productions are writing roles specifically tailored to him, putting him in their movies. RJP is making movie star moves – and it’s a good look on the Television Academy to be rewarding an actor now, at this point in his career, during his ascent. If this is part of the campaign strategy (and let’s not pretend there isn’t always a campaign strategy where Hollywood and awards are concerned), it’s a smart one.
But that also doesn’t mean that Regé-Jean Page doesn’t have the goods to back up all this hype. As the piece tells us, he is as versatile as they come right now. He can do romantic lead, as we just saw, he can do comedy (SNL), he’s just wrapped on two mega-budget action projects, and he can transition to period piece to contemporary no problem. In fact, he talks about how much period work he’s done in this profile – which isn’t exactly surprising for a British actor, but definitely novel for a Black British actor.
One by one, then, RJP has been knocking down hurdles. And upgrading his ride. As he tells Variety:
“The last time, and only other time, I had sat in a 19th-century carriage I was being dragged away from my family [and sold to a new master] in the U.K.,” he says. “Next time I sat in that carriage, I own the carriage as royalty. That is the progress in storytelling to fill out that picture. What gave me the greatest satisfaction was balancing that scale.”
Why, then, would we want to hold him to one role?
Read the full piece on Regé-Jean Page in Variety.