Oughta Get a Nod: Hamish Linklater for Midnight Mass
Does the awards community need to up its dose of Ginkgo Biloba? September 2021 wasn't that long ago (not even nine months ago), yet very few Emmy prognosticators seem to remember this simple fact: Hamish Linklater absolutely killed it — in more ways than one — as an intensely devoted man of God in Netflix's Midnight Mass.
This collective amnesia is particularly odd given that Linklater delivered a pair of distinctly excellent performances in two recent limited series: As Nixon lackey Jeb Magruder in Starz's Gaslit, and doting fangelyne/personal assistant Rick Krause in Peacock's Angelyne. For the purposes of this plea, though, let's focus on Midnight Mass.
Linklater stars as Father Paul Hill, a young priest who arrives in the small fishing town of Crockett Island after the church's elderly clergyman falls ill. Father Paul is congenial and unassuming, a gentle man who just wants to watch over the island's Catholic flock until the Monsignor returns. Or so he says.
Midnight Mass only works if the viewers, like the citizens of Crockett Island, are mesmerized by Father Paul — and thanks to Linklater, it works miraculously well. Fusing aw-shucks wit with fiery religious zeal and an almost palpable benevolence, the star makes us believe that Father Paul is acting out of a deep devotion to his God and a profound love for his parishioners, even though what he's asking them to do is terrifying and patently insane. When the priest finally realizes the gravity of his sin, his last words — "forgive me" — will hit you square in the soul.
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A mysterious priest. Unexplainable "miracles." A newfound religious fervor. The residents of Crockett Island are about to have their faith tested in horrific ways.