2016 was a year of triumph and tragedy for Brian Tyree Henry. After years of work on stage in production like The Book of Mormon and television guest spots on shows like The Good Wife and Law & Order, the North Carolina native got cast in Donald Glover's new and anticipated FX show, Atlanta as Alfred "Paper Boi" Miles. However, the jubilation after wrapping season one was quickly met with terrible news — his mother Willow Dean Kearse had died as the result of a car accident.
In a second season filled with stellar episodes, the eighth episode "Woods" manages to stand out. The episode, written by Stefani Robinson and directed by Hiro Murai, features Henry as Alfred on the one-year anniversary of his character's mother's death. With the loss of his real-life mother, the subject matter obviously hit very close to home for Henry. What followed was a performance so undeniably great that it has Henry in the Emmy conversation.