Emmys 2012: The Supporting Drama Actor Race in Review, Including Our Dream Nominees

This year’s Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama race could come down to a duel between ’10 champ Aaron Paul (back in the running after a year of hiatus-imposed ineligibility) and last year’s victor Peter Dinklage (still very much on top of his, um, game.)

A wildcard to watch: Paul’s Breaking Bad co-star Giancarlo Esposito, who made one of TV’s most memorable exits ever.

More Emmy Races In Review | Outstanding Drama Series | Lead Drama Actor | Lead Drama Actress | Supporting Drama Actress | Outstanding Comedy Series | Lead Comedy Actor | Lead Comedy Actress | Supporting Comedy Actor | Supporting Comedy Actress | Outstanding Reality-Competition Series | Outstanding Movie/Miniseries

Review this slideshow of the major contenders — including TVLine’s Dream Nominees — then vote below for who you think are the six best. And check back Wednesday for our preview of the Supporting Actress Drama race!


Comments (175)

  • So hard to choose between Peter Dinklage, Aaron Paul, Giancarlo Esposito, or John Noble. Ugh

    Comment by Matt Hrivnak – June 5, 2012 12:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • John Noble!!!! Fringe cast has been so deserving of an Emmy, but they are always ignored in favor of the same actors from the same shows every year, seriously they’re are other people in the acting world! Also Anna Torv is the most deserving of an Emmy!!! Try playing almost 10 versions of the same character!!!

    Comment by Angela – June 5, 2012 03:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I can’r imagine Michael Cudlitz getting a nomination based on his work this past season. Definitely the earlier seasons his work was much better but in season 4 his character definitely took a back seat to Tang. Too bad he can’t get nominated based on the series as a whole. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a good actor, it’s just his work this season does not warrant a nomination, even as a dream nomination.

    Comment by laurel – June 5, 2012 03:45 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The supporting actor/actress categories are mostly more exciting to predict than the Leading ones. There are mostly some welcome surprises:
    However i guess:

    Peter Dinklage,G.Esposito & Aaron Paul are a sure thing to get a nomination.

    The other three spots are more difficult to predict:
    The Good wife is a critics darling, so i would say neither Josh or Alan will get a nom again. Josh had the meatier storyline this season but i think Alan is the better actor,it is a Sophies Choice.

    The other two will likely go to John Slattery and Mandy Patinkin,though i hope not. I hope that Robert Carlyle, Robert Sean Leonard will made the list. Both did an amazing acting job this season and deserve some recognition. My fingers are crossed. :)

    Comment by Karo – June 5, 2012 03:54 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • “Leonard hasn’t nabbed a nomination in House’s entire eight-season run” .And that is because his talent was underused much of the time! The Emmy’s failed back in 2008 with his performance in the Season 4 finale.

    He was finally given the chance to shine again in the final episodes. The man is a Tony Award winner. Would dearly love to see him being recognized for his work here. It’s time.

    Comment by mooseonajew – June 5, 2012 04:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Aaron Pau or Peter Dinklage, no one else needs to show up

    Comment by Lia – June 5, 2012 04:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I’d be inclined to nominate Jared Harris over John Slattery (as great as Slattery is). Keeping my fingers crossed for Mandy Patinkin (and Robert Sean Leonard, though that will probably never happen).

    Comment by JenniferH – June 5, 2012 05:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • 1. Peter Dinklage – Winner by a landslide
    2. John Noble – Should be the winner by a landslide
    3. Aaron Paul – Simply amazing on BB
    4. Walton Goggins – He does crazy so well
    5. Joel Kinnaman – He gets far less credit than he should
    6. Giancarlo Esposito – loved him on BB

    Comment by AJ – June 5, 2012 05:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • John Noble and Peter Dinklage are definitely the two actors who deserve it the most from this list. Sadly, the Emmys definitely have something against the sci-fi and fantasy worlds… But Dinklage did it last year so why couldn’t he do it again along with Noble after all? Fingers crossed!

    Comment by Cécilia (@Kaelity) – June 5, 2012 05:55 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This is probably the deepest of all the categories.If I had my druthers, the nominations would be:

    Aaron Paul
    Giancarlo Esposito
    Peter Dinklage
    Mandy Patinkin
    Walton Goggins
    Michael Pitt

    In reality, I’m sure John Slattery will still get a nod, even though I’m not sure he’s had one episode this season where he particularly shined. He’ll probably be in over Pitt.

    Comment by Superhero – June 5, 2012 05:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree that this is probably the toughest category…so many deserving actors.

      Comment by TheBeach – June 5, 2012 11:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Robert Sean Leonard or Mandy Patinkin, truly define the name supporting actor for me.

    Comment by Marie – June 5, 2012 06:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Tie between Jon berthanal Michael Pitt Robert Carlyle and Robert Sean Leonard

    Comment by Sue – June 5, 2012 06:51 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • ROBERTTTTTTTTTTTTT¡¡¡¡ (and Josh Dallas :D)

    Comment by veronic – June 5, 2012 07:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I would like to vote for John Noble 6 times, please. Thank you.

    Comment by Jones – June 5, 2012 07:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Jon Huertas, “Castle” I wish they would quit neglecting Castle. Just because it has a little comedy sprinkled in, does not make it any less of a DRAMA.

    Comment by Summer of Castle (@AlwaysCastle47) – June 5, 2012 07:27 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Are you serious? I mean, I knew you Castle fans were completely batsh!t insane based on the previous articles, but even most of them have been smart enough not to even try here. If you honestly think that Jon freaking Huertas does anything remotely close to the level that some of the guys listed do, you’re on a whole different playing field of craziness. And I’m sorry to inform you, but the reason Castle is *neglected* is not because it’s a dramedy; it’s *neglected* because it’s a standard procedural that does absolutely nothing we haven’t already seen a million times.

      Comment by Nameless – June 5, 2012 08:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Huerates is quite good but it’s laughable to put him on par with Giancarlo Esposito, Peter Dinklage, Neal McDonaguh, even Alan Cumming’s role is more juicy than Huerates been there done that performance. I personally cant wait for them to see who the Castle fans(even though I like that show) champion for Best Supporting Actress against Kelly Macdonald, Christine Baranski, Anna Gunn and so forth

      Comment by John – June 5, 2012 10:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • John Noble and Michael Pitt.

    Comment by Tess – June 5, 2012 08:10 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Joel Kinnaman’s The Killing performance is a definite standout and Justin Chamblers, GA’s Alex Karev, is sadly missing from the list. Unfortunately, I doubt seriously either one of these fine actors will make the list of nominated actors.

    Comment by Linderella – June 5, 2012 08:25 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Just realizing how few of these shows I watch. Definitely Peter Dinklage, absolutely Michael Pitt (though he should get a lead nod), John Slattery, and Giancarlo Esposito. Since I don’t watch anything else on this list, I also picked Michael K. Williams and Aaron Paul, but I would love to see Jared Harris, Vincent Kartheiser, Jeremy Allen White, or even Gabriel Mann get a nomination.

    Comment by A.J. – June 5, 2012 08:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • As much as I wish it was different I don’t expect anyone from Fringe to actually win an Emmy but the fact that John Noble has never even been acknowledged with a nomination is just wrong.

    Comment by Amanda – June 5, 2012 08:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • More of you need to be watching Southland and Justified. All of the men on the ballot from both were tremendous this past season.

    Comment by Becky Vann – June 5, 2012 08:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wish I could vote 6 times for John Noble!

    Comment by Bella – June 5, 2012 08:53 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • There’s a few names I would add to this list: Gabriel Mann (Revenge) was simply stellar in Revenge as Nolan. Justin Chambers (Grey’s Anatomy) is underrated for the fantastic job he does as Alex. Cody Monteith (Glee). as Finn I would give a nomination for only based on that amazing car scene in the finale. Another actor that impressed me this year was Joseph Morgan (Vampire Diaries) who played Klaus–he really stole the show. Craig T. Nelson (Parenthood) also does good work playing Zeke.

    I realize cable is going to get most of the drama noms but I live in Canada so many of thr current cable shows don’t even air up here in the same year as they do in the States so I have no way to rate them.

    Comment by Ally – June 5, 2012 09:09 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • CUDLITZ! It’s past time.

    Comment by Deb (@Bluegrassbabe3) – June 5, 2012 09:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • jessica lange for american horror should get nominated, love that show

    Comment by jake – June 5, 2012 12:04 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Never thought I’d say this, but! … Jared Harris, ‘Mad Men’ … I don’t know if he’d be eligible this year or next, but definitely, for his work these past few week and especially last week, dream nominee/winner is Jared Harris.

    Comment by kate – June 5, 2012 12:43 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • also, Joel Kinnaman on ‘The Killing’ is way underrated as Stephen Holder. The progression of the show is terrible, but the performances by him and Mireille Enos are incredible.

    Comment by kate – June 5, 2012 12:48 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Robert Carlyle has impressed me so much this year on Once Upon a Time. He is so deserving of a nomination. I’m not going to hold my breath because the Emmys are typically so biased against fantasy and scifi, but he is a highly respected author, so it could work out. John noble, obviously, is fantastic, and they need to cotton on and nominate him. But I feel like he had ever so slightly meatier material last year and didn’t get it. But I really hope it work out for them both, because they are doing amazing work.

    Comment by Gilda – June 5, 2012 01:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Robert Carlyle for Once Upon a Time has to be nominated. He was the break through of the year. Rumpelstiltskin is epic. Like all the rave about Joker in the dark knight epic.

    also would love to see fringe’s john noble and joshua jackson get nominated.

    Comment by Kelly – June 5, 2012 03:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Mandy Patinkin.
    Michael Cudlitz
    and thank you for your Dream nominee of Shawn Hatosy TVLine! He’s my top pick!

    Comment by Charlotte – June 5, 2012 06:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I wish Vincent Kartheiser would get an Emmy nom.

    Comment by c – June 5, 2012 06:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Dinklage for sure. Mandy Patinkin and/or John Slattery did an excellent job this season too.

    Comment by Natalie – June 5, 2012 10:42 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • hands down..John Noble should be the flat out winner. Nails every scene in every episode for the past four years. nuff said

    Comment by oliver – June 6, 2012 01:39 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by Grace – June 6, 2012 02:56 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • JOHN NOBLE, please godammit!!

    Comment by Liz – June 6, 2012 08:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Smash’s Christian Borle. He’s been the constant on that show!

    Comment by Gaby – June 6, 2012 09:50 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Why are Joel Kinnaman and Aaron Paul supporting actors? They should be in best actor character, they have just a big a role as their counterparts IMO.

    Comment by Adam Benson – June 6, 2012 10:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • More people REALLY NEED to watch JUSTIFIED. You don’t know what a good show you are missing.

    Comment by Grace – June 6, 2012 10:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post

    Comment by Nancy – June 6, 2012 10:20 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • So many good actors to pick from!
    1. Peter Dinklage (Tyrion f-ing Lannister!)
    2. Walton Goggins (my 2nd favorite character next to Raylan)
    3. Michael Pitt (RIP, Jimmy!)
    4. John Noble (seeing the two Walters interact was one of the highlights of this season as well as what Dr. Bishop did in the finale)
    5. Aaron Paul (he’s always been very good, but was particularly great at showing the toll the lifestyle is taking on Jesse)
    6. Giancarlo Esposito (the season of Gus)

    Comment by Sareeta – June 6, 2012 01:58 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Give the damn awards to the entirety of the Southaldn cast already…there is nothing on right now that comes even close…

    Comment by kateshomesick – June 6, 2012 05:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Carlyle. No question.

    Comment by rose – June 6, 2012 06:36 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The cast of leverage another glaring miss
    House is a worn out show.
    Where’s. NCis , mentalist, suits,

    Comment by downsidebob – June 7, 2012 03:50 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • John Noble deserves all the freaking awards. It’s a pleasure to enjoy his outstanding work as Dr. Walter Bishop and Walter (among the several different incarnations and shades of the character that he has perfectly portrayed), and it’s a shame that he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves simply because he works in a sci-fi show. Once again I’m gonna get angry if he doesn’t get a nomination, but whatever the Emmys do, it doesn’t change the fact that his is one of the best male performances on tv.

    Comment by KC – June 7, 2012 09:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I just voted for Robert Carlyle, from Once Upon A Time. Considering he is likely submitting Skin Deep as his Emmy consideration episode, I think he should be included in the lead actor poll, but vote for him in this poll any way, because there is no other actor currently on TV that displays the depth and range of emotion that Carlyle does in his performances. Simply the best, no matter what category!

    Comment by Nicole – June 8, 2012 11:49 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Vincent Kartheiser is criminally underrated. John Slattery’s fantastic on “Mad Men” but this was Pete Campbell’s year.

    Comment by yankeelovinglara – June 8, 2012 08:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Brent Sexton- The Killing
    Jeremy Allen White- Shameless

    Comment by michelle – June 11, 2012 11:11 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • the #s dont lie…Peter Dinklage,hands down

    Comment by DawgDaze (@drdjr24) – June 12, 2012 08:30 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Robert Carlyle ‘Once Upon a Time’

    Comment by navistart – June 16, 2012 04:37 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Aaron Paul! Or Peter Dinklage. But I really have to lean more towards Aaron Paul. He’s just brilliant.

    Comment by Jamie – June 17, 2012 06:40 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Oh my goodness!!! Robert Sean Leonard!! He’s had so many amazing moments on House! This is like his last chance to get something for all of his outstanding work on the show! House is over people! This is like his last chance! He deserves this sooo much! Love you Robert♥

    Comment by Lizabeth (@MLandon4e) – June 17, 2012 06:25 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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