Sunday, June 12, 2011

Emmy Musings: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Now that the 2010-2011 TV season is officially over, it’s hardly too early to start thinking about the Emmy nominations, which will be announced in July. Consider these preliminary thoughts rather than official predictions – look for those at the beginning of July. As always, chime in with your reactions and predictions in the comments, and don’t hesitate to let me know if I left any strong contenders off the list!

Last year’s ineligible nominees: Michael Emerson and Terry O’Quinn (“Lost” is over), Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad” returns in July), and Martin Short (“Damages” returns later this year, though he probably won’t be on it anyway)

Last year’s eligible nominees:
Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age)
Were there a man who could get nominated for anything, this would be your guy. Evidently the standout on TNT’s rather slow-moving midlife crisis show, Braugher scored a surprise nod last year and now contends as one of only two potential returning nominees. Unless he hasn’t been featured as prominently, he should be a shoo-in given the enormous amount of slots open that can serve well enough to provide space for other actors.

John Slattery (Mad Men)
Slattery has been nominated for all three years of “Mad Men” thus far, and there’s no reason to think that he won’t return for a fourth, especially considering the meaty albeit small storyline he had this past season involving Joan and a mugging. With the ineligible competition out of this way, Slattery is this category’s most senior nominee, and he should be back without any trouble.

Category transfers:
Alan Cumming (The Good Wife)
Last year, Cumming popped up in the guest actor category for his recurring role as Eli Gold. Now that he’s been promoted to series regular, he had a far more prominent showcase and was just as excellent in season two. With not one but two other males to compete with – Josh Charles and Chris Noth – Cumming may have the advantage as a past nominee, though his role certainly isn’t as dramatic as that of his costars. Fortunately, the show is very popular, so he’s a decent bet.

New contenders:
Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
I have no idea how this show is going to play with Emmy voters. Sometimes HBO stuff is hot from the start, but usually the more intense, set-piece oriented stuff takes a bit of time to catch on (“Deadwood”) or doesn’t at all (“Rome.”) Among the talented ensemble, Dinklage stands out to me due to the comic brilliance of his character and his accent mastery. It’s a long shot, but a nomination for him is plausible.

Irffan Khan (In Treatment)
This category is not kind to supporting players from HBO’s therapy series. Both Blair Underwood and John Mahoney seemed like sure things, and even though the show’s leading actor and supporting actresses got nominated, they didn’t. Therefore I anticipate the same fate for the always excellent Khan, who had one of the year’s strongest storylines on the now-cancelled show.

Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire)
This young actor broke out on HBO’s series as a henchman headed for much more, and he had more than enough to do in each episode to ensure viewers will remember him. He has some internal competition, including the man listed immediately below, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Michael K. Williams (same first name for all). The show should be embraced warmly by voters; it’s just a matter of whether his rather unlikeable character can win them over too.

Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire)
There’s no question that this is a tour de force performance. If Shannon gets nominated, he could probably win with the submission of the episode where he pretty much baptizes a man to death in front of a large crowd. The show is popular and should earn some recognition in the acting categories, and this Oscar nominee can probably net himself an Emmy nomination without much trouble.

Other possibilities:
Josh Charles (The Good Wife)
Charles is this legal drama’s most consistent and regular male player, and he’s had plenty of screen time this season fighting for the life of his firm and trying to reason out his relationships with several different women. His role might not be as showy as some of the series’ other parts, but that doesn’t make him any less believable, funny, or endearing. He could make it in this year, but he’s not a sure thing.

Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men)
In the category of underappreciated supporting stars, we have Kartheiser, who has played Pete Campbell as a seedy money-grubbing snob since day one and earned zilch in terms of recognition. It makes sense that AMC’s advertising drama would be the type of series to dominate a supporting category, so maybe more room this year means that Kartheiser can finally join costar John Slattery on the list of nominees.

Chris Noth (The Good Wife)
Noth managed to earn a Golden Globe nomination in a crowded category for his recurring role as Peter Florrick, a man struggling to return to an office he once held after going to prison for his illicit sexual misconduct. Noth pulled off the same feat for “Sex and the City” eleven years ago and then didn’t repeat at the Emmys, but a meaty role this year might just give him what it takes to make it in.

Next up: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series


Richter Scale said...

As I've mentioned before, I really want John Slattery to win this year. It wasn't just his arch with Joan. Remember Hands and Knees? Remember that scene where he's begging Lee Garner Jr. not to take Lucky Strike away from them? Or the scene later with the partners where he masks his own guilt by tearing Pete Campbell apart for losing an account (making him the first use of the "f" word on this show)? Roger Sterling, a spoiled rich kid who never had to work for anything in his life, fails at the first real ounce of responsibility he is ever given and the shame he displays in the episode Chinese Wall from the fallout of his actions is also a superb showcase for Slattery. I think this is the first time he really deserves that Emmy and even with some exciting new competition I want him to win.

Movies with Abe said...

Very true! I've felt in the past that he hasn't quite had enough material to win, but maybe this year!