Friday, September 4, 2015

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

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

Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut, Better Call Saul (Five-O)
Banks was nominated two years ago for this same role on “Breaking Bad,” and now he’s back in a context that doesn’t always allow him to take center stage. In this episode, however, he is fully featured in an intense hour that delves completely into his backstory. His last submission was solid, and this one is a complete knockout. Consider him a strong contender for the win.

Jim Carter as Mr. Carson, Downton Abbey (Episode 9)
This is the fourth consecutive nomination for Carter, who is great on his show but isn’t exactly the strongest or most prominent player. It’s hard not to like him, though, and the submission of the season-ending special is a stellar choice. Carter is smiling throughout and even gets to get engaged to a woman he’s been friends with for so many years. There’s no way he’ll win, but this is good stuff.

Alan Cumming as Eli Gold, The Good Wife (Undisclosed Recipients)
It’s strange to see Cumming nominated again after being included four years ago for his performance as political operator Eli, who in his selected episode does have the chance to do what Eli does best, which is nearly combust because he can’t manage everyone else around him. It’s a fun and entertaining episode, but I don’t see him eclipsing the more dramatic competition.

Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones (Hardhome)
This is the fifth consecutive nomination for Dinklage, who won this award on his first try for the show’s first season. Dinklage has exceptional material each year, and this episode, which has Tyrion become Daenerys’ adviser and lets them banter back and forth, is typically strong material. I don’t think this is the year for him to win again unless the show sweeps, which it well could.

Michael Kelly as Doug Stamper, House of Cards (Chapter 27)
Kelly earning a nomination for season three of this show is especially impressive since I and most others assumed he was dead at the end of season two. Instead, Doug took a long road to recovery which began in the season premiere, in which he offered his services to the president and was told he had to step back and focus on get better. It’s not the most intense or committed showcase for him compared to other hours, but he could still win given the nature of the role.

Ben Mendelsohn as Danny Rayburn, Bloodline (Episode 112)
Mendelsohn is a great actor who is finally getting some solid work in the United States (check out his performance in the forthcoming film “Mississippi Grind”). He’s the strongest part of Netflix’s new series as a troublesome adult brother who, in the season finale, doesn’t even try to hide his nature. It’s a formidable turn, and just the kind of part that wins people Emmys.

Who should win (based on entire season): Dinklage or Banks
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Banks or Mendelsohn
Who will win: I’ll bet on Mendelsohn over Banks and Kelly.

Next up: Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

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