Saturday, June 1, 2013

Emmy Musings: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Now that the 2012-2013 TV season is almost 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: Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Jared Harris (Mad Men)

Last year’s eligible nominees:
Jim Carter and Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey)
Last year, the PBS British import exploded in popularity, which meant nominations for supporting players Carter and Coyle. I suspect that neither will be back this year because the show isn’t on hot and their roles were far from major, especially Coyle’s. It’s unwise to count out this show altogether, however, given how formidably it performed last year and how beloved it continues to be.

Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones)
Dinklage won this trophy two years ago and returned with a nomination, remaining the lone performer from his twice-nominated Best Drama Series contender to earn an Emmy mention. Dinklage continues to be the scene-stealer on a show full of big characters, and I think that he’s a good bet if not a lock to earn another nomination this year.

Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
Paul managed not only to earn a nomination after his show took a year off the air, but he even pulled off a repeat win, defeating the expected victor, costar Giancarlo Esposito. With him out of the way, Paul is all but guaranteed to return, especially considering his show will be returning for its final slate of episodes right around the time that Emmy season is at its peak. I see no reason why he couldn’t win again.

Past nominees:
Walton Goggins (Justified)
Goggins finally broke through two years ago after missing out despite much praise on nomination for the final season of “The Shield” and the first season of “Justified.” What ups his chances after his snub last year is that there isn’t another actor in this race from his show, as there was last year, the similarly snubbed Neal McDonough. Emmy voters have an inconsistent relationship with the FX series, so think of Goggins as a possible spoiler

John Slattery (Mad Men)
I was sure that Slattery would earn his fifth consecutive nomination last year, but he ended up getting edged out by costar Jared Harris, who didn’t appear in this season. That could be the perfect opportunity for Slattery to slip back in, since costar Vincent Kartheiser has never contended and wouldn’t likely earn more votes than him, but Emmy voters don’t always love welcoming back those they used to like and have now forgotten.

New contenders:
Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire)
Cannavale made a lasting impression on the third season of HBO’s prohibition-era gangster show. Though he has never earned a nomination in a category like this, Cannavale did win the Best Guest Actor in a Comedy Series trophy in 2005 for “Will and Grace” and was nominated again last year for “Nurse Jackie.” If voters still like his show, he’ll probably find himself among the list of nominees.

Noah Emmerich (The Americans)
I’m not sure how Emmy voters will warm to FX’s Cold War spy series since they’ve loved some FX shows and ignored others altogether. Emmerich is a great candidate for this race because he’s the kind of everyman actor who has appeared in so much and finally got a breakout role on a show (think Zeljko Ivanek in “Damages”). Even if his more famous costars don’t get nominated, he still might.

David Morrisey (The Walking Dead)
Emmy voters’ lack of enthusiasm for this superb supernatural AMC endeavor is puzzling to me, and I’m wondering if Morrisey can change that. It’s hard to argue with the awesomeness of his portrayal of the brutal Governor, and though his awards record isn’t great, this is just the kind of role that could attract the attention of those who might otherwise dismiss the show as genre fare. He’s a longshot, but it could happen.

Corey Stoll (House of Cards)
This contender comes with the same precondition as his costars: it all depends on how Netflix goes over with Emmy voters. Stoll is hardly as well-known as Kevin Spacey or Robin Wright, though it’s not as important since this category welcomes those who aren’t as famous. Stoll earned raves for playing Ernest Hemingway in “Midnight in Paris,” and this role has people talking too, which means he might just make it in.

Sam Waterston (The Newsroom)
I’m not sure how Emmy voters will embrace HBO’s news-set series, but I know that, objectively, they love Aaron Sorkin and they love Sam Waterston. The former “Law and Order” star contended seven times for Emmys, mostly in the lead race, for three different roles. His supporting part on this show is very endearing, and very likely to catch Emmy voters’ eyes.

Other possibilities:
Jonathan Banks (Breaking Bad)
I’m not sure if Banks would really have qualified for this category in past years, but, in season five, he took on a major role and did extremely well with it. He’s very much like costar Paul, not someone who would traditional earn awards, but whose performance is just so offbeat and terrific that it’s impossible to ignore. His show earns high praise from most, and he might benefit from its strong buzz.

Larry Hagman (Dallas)
I include this late actor, who contended in the lead actor category for this same role in 1980 and 1981, because voters have a tendency to be nostalgic. Both John Ritter and Kathryn Joosten have received posthumous nominations in the last decade, and it wouldn’t be too surprising if Hagman, who was honestly the best part of TNT’s reboot of his series, got a swan song nomination too.

Mandy Patinkin (Homeland)
I was shocked that Patinkin didn’t make the cut last year. He won an Emmy for the first season of “Chicago Hope” before departing the series in season two, and earned another nod for guest-starring on the show four years later. He’s had an equally compelling part in season two, and managed to score the Golden Globe nomination he didn’t get last year this past year. I think he’ll make it in this time due to the open spots in this race.


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