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Lou Diamond Phillips Won’t Win An Emmy – But He Should

by THN

The 68th Emmy Awards are just around the corner and while plenty of talk in the showbiz world is focused on the likes of Courtney B. Vance (The People vs. OJ Simpson) and Viola Davis (star of the enjoyable How to Get Away with Murder), one man who isn’t being talked about (but should be) is Lou Diamond Phillips.

The 54-year-old actor may still be best known for his breakthrough role as Ritchie Valens in La Bamba (1987), but since playing the part of Henry Standing Bear in Longmire, his stock has risen dramatically. Although he’s unlikely to win an Emmy Award in 2016, there are plenty of reasons why he should be among the “best supporting actor” talks.

The Many Faces of Phillips



Since taking up the role of Bear back in 2012, Phillips has starred in 44 episodes of Longmire and his versatility has impressed TV executives, movie producers and audiences alike. In fact, so impressive has Phillips been that he was cast as serial killer Richard Ramirez in the much anticipated thriller The Night Stalker (not to be confused with Edgar Wright’s The Night Stalker about an investigative reporter).

One of the main reasons behind director Megan Griffiths’ decision to cast Phillips as the terrifying Ramirez (who ran riot with a spate of murders in LA during the eighties) is his ability to switch characters in an instant. In real life, Phillips is a naturally jovial guy and this shines through when he’s playing Bear. However, there’s a dark side to his character that’s he able to call upon when needed and it’s this movement from likeable to frightening that Griffiths wanted for Ramirez.

Of course, you only have to look to Phillips’ life outside acting to see why he’s able to switch things up and assume a variety of roles. One of the actor’s favorite pastimes is poker – a game that requires players to change their style and demeanor constantly in order to bluff their opponents – and, over the years, he’s taken part in a host of celebrity poker events and even appeared on the professional stage at the World Series of Poker.

Phillips Shows his Poker Face


www. philhellmuth.com

According to his poker stats, Phillips has won just over $50,000 in live poker tournaments, and almost every summer he can be found at the prestigious WSOP in Las Vegas. The festival welcomes thousands of players from around the world each year, from pros like Daniel Negreanu to celebrities such as Phillips and Breaking Bad star Aaron Paul.

The proverbial jewel in the WSOP’s crown is the $10,000 Main Event, which regularly attracts a mix of seasoned players and plucky novices. For those with enough money, like Phillips, it’s possible to buy-in for $10,000. However, to help push the field beyond the 6,000 player mark (which is common), online operators often host “satellites.” By paying a small fee to enter as an online qualifier, players can earn a seat in the WSOP tournament and try to emulate the likes of 2013 champion Ryan Riess who won $8,361,570.

The Art of Deception



One of the key skills in poker is being able to deceive your opponent but since every player is different, it means you always have to switch your style. This is something Phillips has become extremely proficient at since he claimed his first tournament cash ($8,900) back in 2003. Moreover, Phillips knows well how takes advantage of his poker face in his professional capacity as an actor. Both Bear and Ramirez have split personalities and that’s what makes them intriguing characters to play.

However, portraying someone who initially appears affable and charming before turning into a stone-cold killer like Richard Ramirez isn’t easy. Fortunately, Phillips is a man of many faces and, thanks to his time at the poker table, he’s able to switch from one guise to another within the blink of any eye. Indeed, like all skilled poker players, Phillips has mastered the art of deception and that’s one of the reasons he’s become a the talk of Hollywood in recent months.

So, does this mean Phillips has done enough to win an award in 2016? Well, the jury is still out on that one. While he’s certainly too late to pick up an Emmy ahead of the current favorites, he could still attract plenty of plaudits once The Night Stalker is seen around the world (it was released on June 12, 2016). While he isn’t on the recent list of MTV Movie Award nominations, there’s could still be hope for the poker-playing actor later in the year.

Does Phillips deserve an Emmy? There are plenty of arguments to say that he does. One thing’s for sure, he’s certainly come a long way since his hip-gyrating days as Ritchie Valens.

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