Monday, September 2, 2013

AFT Awards: Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

This is the ninth category of the 7th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2012-2013 seasons. Finalists and semi-finalists are included to recognize more of the impressive work done on television today. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them.

Best Guest Actor in a Drama Series

Last year’s nominees: Jamie Bamber, Desmond Harrington, Ted Levine, Chris Messina, Mykelti Williamson

Emmy nominees: Dan Bucatinsky, Michael J. Fox, Rupert Friend, Harry Hamlin, Nathan Lane, Robert Morse

Semi-finalists: John Pyper-Ferguson (Alphas), Patton Oswalt (Burn Notice), Billy Burke (The Closer), Victor Garber (Damages), Dylan Baker (The Good Wife), Michael J. Fox (The Good Wife), Kyle MacLachlan (The Good Wife), Robert Baker (Justified), Raymond J. Barry (Justified), Jim Beaver (Justified), James Wolk (Mad Men), Chris Messina (The Newsroom), Ray Romano (Parenthood), Walton Goggins (Sons of Anarchy), Donal Logue (Sons of Anarchy), Harold Perrineau (Sons of Anarchy), Christopher Heyerdahl (True Blood), Christopher Heyerdahl (Vegas), Dallas Roberts (The Walking Dead)

Finalists: Harry Hamlin (Mad Men) was a consistently intriguing and compelling aspect of his show as the more grounded, business-oriented new partner. Rupert Friend (Homeland) stormed onto his show with a controlled confidence, and watching that feeling slip away was intense. Nathan Lane (The Good Wife) was subtly endearing in his by-the-book performance that broke the actor away from his usual roles. Sean Astin (Alphas) was fantastically focused as a visualization of a fascinating concept of many people’s memories being housed in one person’s mind. Ron Eldard (Justified) came onto the scene as an unknown quantity, and proved to be a loyal if flawed lieutenant whose final scene of the season was truly terrific.

The nominees:

Ray Stevenson (Dexter) embodied a villain motivated by passion and affection, and it was wonderful to see that definition turned on its hand thanks to this three-dimensional performance. Mike O'Malley (Justified) traded the cheerleading support of Burt Hummel for a mean-spirited imperialist attitude that made him one of the season’s most detestable bad guys. Jimmy Smits (Sons of Anarchy) was full of personality from the start, and to see him get unintentionally immersed in his old lifestyle was simply superb. Terry O'Quinn (Falling Skies) could do just about anything and be great, but the role of a professor-turned-politician was absolutely perfect for him.

The winner:

Patton Oswalt (Justified) turned what could have been a running joke into one of his show’s best-ever characters, a small man with a fierce sense of justice and duty and surprising stamina.

Next up: Best Guest Actress in a Drama Series

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