Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Nominees are pictured and listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, Breaking Bad (Say My Name)
Emmy voters seem intent on nominating their beloved two-time winner Aaron Paul and another member of his show’s cast in this category, and after Giancarlo Esposito last year, Banks, who was nominated in this category twenty-four years ago for “Wiseguy,” is an excellent choice for his no-nonsense performance as veteran security man Mike, who is forced to face reality and figure out a way to provide for his beloved granddaughter in one of the season’s most spectacular episodes. I doubt he can beat Paul, but it’s always possible.

Bobby Cannavale as Gyp Rosetti, Boardwalk Empire (Sunday Best)
Cannavale, also a nominee this and last year for his guest acting work on “Nurse Jackie,” stormed onto the scene of “Boardwalk Empire,” which had its best season yet but inexplicably got omitted from most of the major categories in which it was previously nominated, and chewed scenery all season long. Cannavale is indisputably terrific, if a bit over-the-top. His selected episode isn’t actually his best, though it does feature a formidably violent interaction between Gyp and a priest. This is a crowded race, and I don’t know if this submission can get Cannavale to the win.

Jim Carter as Mr. Carson, Downton Abbey (Episode 6)
I was surprised that, after the enthusiasm that netted the PBS drama so many acting nominations last year died down, Carter still managed to get recognized for a performance that is definitely good but often doesn’t get as much of a spotlight as his costars. A comic submission last year was a smart idea, and he repeats that again this year by exempting himself from a social event so that his underlings can actually enjoy themselves. His submission aside, he is sure to be overlooked in favor of other men in this category.

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones (Second Sons)
For the first time, Dinklage isn’t the only actor nominated from his show. He is its sole representative in this race, and after winning two years ago, he continues to be one of its best and most reliable players. His episode this year is brilliant because it lets him shine both a sober and a drunk man, forced to marry someone he does not wish to but intent on not consummating the marriage until his new wife actually wants to. If only his show were still as red-hot as another series with two nominees in this race, he might have a good shot.

Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson, Homeland (The Choice)
Patinkin was snubbed last year for the freshman season of Showtime’s amazingly popular thriller, and now he’s up for his stellar work in its second season as the mentor of the out-of-control CIA Agent Carrie Mathison. Patinkin, an Emmy winner in 1995 for “Chicago Hope,” is terrific without trying very hard, and his role is a very fitting one. His choice of the season finale is excellent, because it lets him grandstand at the start and then act tremendously humble at its end. He’s a threat to win if his show is as popular as it was last year.

Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad (Buyout)
Emmy voters love Paul. He won this award for the third and fourth seasons of his show despite fierce competition, and now he’s back for the penultimate year of his series, which concludes for good just a few weeks after Emmy night. That buzz is very likely to propel Paul to another win, though I’m not convinced that he’s entirely invincible. Mourning the murder of an innocent bystander gives him the opportunity to be just as multi-faceted as Emmy voters seem to love, and therefore betting against him doesn’t seem too wise.

Who should win (based on entire season): Cannavale, Patinkin, or Banks
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Banks, Dinklage, of Patinkin
Who will win: It could be Banks or Patinkin, but I think that Paul will score his third victory.

Next up: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

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