Michael K. Williams, who played Jack Gee in the Bessie Smith HBO biopic “Bessie,” can’t believe the talent he’s up against in the Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Emmy category, saying “I mean, Bill Murray, are you kidding me?”
Williams, best known to television fans as the calculating killer Omar from “The Wire,” is also not planning to rest on his laurels now that he has the nomination. “With my work schedule right now, there’s really not a lot of time to celebrate,” Williams told TheWrap in an interview Thursday. “And I believe in not counting your chickens before they hatch.”
“Bessie” was also nominated for six Emmys altogether, including Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie (Queen Latifah), and Outstanding Television Movie.
Read TheWrap’s full interview with Williams below.
TheWrap: What was your immediate reaction to your nomination?
Williams: Oh man. Joy. [Laughs]
How are you planning to celebrate?
With my work schedule right now, there’s really not a lot of time to celebrate. And I believe in not counting your chickens before they hatch. So it’s very humbling to have been acknowledged and get my name called and everything in that category among all those veterans. I mean, Bill Murray, are you kidding me? So I think a nice dinner in Little Ethiopia would suit me just fine.
Who’s the stiffest competition in your category?
I’m a huge fan of Bill Murray, once again. His body of work is just amazing to me. I think everybody in the category is phenomenal, but he sticks out to me as one of my favorites.
Is there anybody who discouraged you in your career who you would want to knock in your Emmy speech?
I’ve always been my biggest critic, so that would have to be myself. If you had told me 20 years ago that I would be this far, I would be — my name would be called in the company that it’s being called in, I would have called you a bold faced liar. I would say that I was always my biggest critic, but I’ve had amazing people in my corner who have always rooted for me and supported me and that’s where I stand with that.
Were there any snubs that surprised you?
I really love what Terrence Howard and the cast of “Empire” have been doing over there. It would have been nice to see some of them get nominated. I don’t know if they have or haven’t, but I love what they’re doing over there.
What’s your secret weapon for wowing Emmy voters before the awards ceremony?
My secret weapon is just stay focused on what’s in front of me. I have a full plate of work with “Ghostbusters” and “Assassin’s Creed.” I’m shooting — I’m one of the investigative journalists for the new Vice TV network. My plate is pretty full so I think I do myself the best service by staying focused on what’s in front of me.