Tuesday, August 14, 2012

AFT Awards: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

This is the fifth category of the 6th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2011-2012 season. This year, semi-finalists are included to recognize more of the impressive work being done on television today. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them.

Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Last year’s nominees: Josh Charles, Peter Dinklage, Walton Goggins, Jared Harris, Michael Shannon

Emmy nominees: Jim Carter, Brendan Coyle, Peter Dinklage, Giancarlo Esposito, Jared Harris, Aaron Paul

Semi-finalists: Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire), Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire), Christopher Gorham (The Closer), John Goodman (Damages), Josh Charles (The Good Wife), Alan Cumming (The Good Wife), Chris Noth (The Good Wife), Jeremy Davies (Justified), Walton Goggins (Justified), Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men), John Slattery (Mad Men), Xander Berkeley (Nikita)

Finalists: Christopher Heyerdahl (Hell on Wheels) turned simple dialogue into Shakespearean speeches, commanding his every scene. Ryan Cartwright (Alphas) stood out on his sci-fi show with an endearing, respectful performance as an autistic character. Jared Harris (Mad Men) turned in his most moving, melancholy work yet as he found himself increasingly trapped by his situation. Dennis Farina (Luck) was steadfast and stoic as a bodyguard, though not immune to erring his thoughts too publicly. Dylan Baker (Damages) got the chance to act as deviously and villainously as possible, and he embraced it with frightening focus.

The nominees:

Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad) was always a mesmerizing character, but took it to the next level this year as he invested himself more personally in his business. Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) stood out once against amidst a large ensemble with his wit and surprising seriousness winning over any viewer. Mandy Patinkin (Homeland) found a perfect role as a disgruntled agent and mentor with just enough affection for his protégé to let himself follow her down a dangerous path. Martin Donovan (Boss) acted most scenes against Kelsey Grammer – no easy feat – but held his own by showing little emotion but not being afraid to speak his mind.

The winner:

Neal McDonough (Justified) gave the performance of the year in a wondrous follow-up to his role in NBC’s short-lived “Boomtown” as an amazingly intelligent and determined criminal just barely hanging on to his humanity.

Next up: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

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