Emmys

Emmys 2012: Who Should Win Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series? Take Our Poll!

You can’t accuse the Emmys of being stagnant — at least not when it comes to the race for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.

Of the six men nominated last year, only one — eventual winner Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) — managed to make the cut in 2012.
 Also in the hunt is 2010 winner Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad (whose show was inelligible last year).

The field is rounded out by a quartet of first-time Emmy nominees: Giancarlo Esposito (Breaking Bad), Brendan Coyle (Downton Abbey
), Jim Carter (Downton Abbey
), and Jared Harris (Mad Men).

What would you do if you had the power to send one of these fine actors to the podium when the Emmys are handed out in September? Take our poll below to vote for your favorite — TVLine voting closes Sept. 14, so act now! — then hit the comments to justify your pick!

Every day for the next month, we’ll launch another “Who Should Win” Emmy poll, so come back to TVLine.com every day to weigh in on who’s most worthy of TV’s biggest honor, and to stay up to speed on all our races, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!


Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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70 Comments
  1. Clay says:

    All the nominees are worthy of winning, but Giancarlo Esposito deserves it the most. That scene where Gus kills Victor in Box Cutter was chilling. He said so much by saying so little.

    • Jake says:

      That’s not the episode he submitted. Giancarlo submitted hermanos but I really think aaron Paul is gonna take this and deservedly so for his powerful episode which has him fighting with Walt over who poisoned his gf kid.

      • Michael says:

        I love Aaron and Giancarlo but I think that they are going to cancel each other out. This category is the toughest of them all but I think that Peter Dinkelage is a magnificent actor. I would be happy if any of the three won but think that Peter will win because Aaron and Giancarlo are going to take votes away from each other.

        • tad says:

          I just don’t think that giancarlo has the emmy episode, i don’t see any cancellation.

          • Michael says:

            Any emmy voter familiar with Breaking Bad is not going to vote based only on the submission but on the entire body of work. In that respect, they will cancel each other out.

      • TheBeach says:

        Does anyone know which scene they submitted for Aaron Paul? I hope it was the “dead dog” scene as that was some of the best acting I saw all year.

        • ryan says:

          Surprisingly it wasn’t Problem Dog(should have been in my opinion, and would have been a shoe in) instead he submitted the second last episode of season 4, where he does get to worry about Brock, but I still don’t think it was his strongest. That said both episodes are leagues ahead of anything Esposito did on the show, also although I love Game of Thrones and Dinkelage I don’t think he really had a stand out individual episode this year. Also I think Harris earned his nomination(although it really should have gone to Pete Cambell), but wasn’t as strong as Dinkelage or Paul.

          I want Paul to win, I think Dinkelage or Esposito will

    • Alexis says:

      Let’s not forget that new episodes of Breaking Bad are airing currently during the Emmy voting process so that definitely helps a show – it definitely helped Friday Night Lights last year. In this case it is working in Aaron Paul’s favor and he submitted the season 4 penultimate ep “End Times” (where he confronts Walt about Brock’s poisoning).
      I voted for Giancarlo Esposito though as much as I adore Jesse Pinkman.

    • ryan says:

      Yes with that scene Esposito said “I can maintain the same facial expression for 24 episodes.” I like Gus as a character, but what was required from his performance was nothing compared to these other nominees.

  2. Tasha says:

    Since I can’t vote for John Noble, I’ll have to go with Jared Harris so that there’s at least a little bit of Fringe represented.

  3. SG says:

    Jared Harris and Peter Dinklage are terrific, but their scripts weren’t nearly as good as what we got from Breaking Bad. I’m torn between Aaron Paul and Giancarlo Esposito. I want Esposito to win because he’s amazing and has never won before, and Gus is the coolest bad guy on television.

    But watching Jesse last season, wow. Paul was stunning and brought me to tears many times. As good as Esposito is, Paul stole every scene he was in. That addiction group meeting was one of the most arresting monologues I have ever seen on television. How come Aaron Paul isn’t making three movies a year like Bryan Cranston? He is shockingly good onscreen.

    I want to spread the Emmy love around but my gut tells me Aaron Paul put in the most powerful performances of all the nominees.

    • Alexis says:

      Aaron Paul has been a revelation with each season. If he doesn’t win next year at least for his performance in the current season then we may as well cancel the Emmys forever.

  4. matt says:

    John Noble deserves this…but if I were to vote from the names provided: Dinklage for the win

  5. From the shows here, I watch only Breaking Bad and Gus Fring was a huge character but was mainly built by the writing and through conversations about him and not so much by the Esposito acting (which was really good)… On the other hand we have Pinkman who was very well played by Aaron Paul… So I vote for Aaron!

  6. Chris says:

    Mandy Patinkin or John Noble. Oh…wait.The Academy sucks and gave their spots to Jim Carter and Brendan Coyle. In that case definitely Giancarlo Esposito.

    • ben says:

      I completely agree with the two that are missing as the best two. But, frustrating to blame Downton actors as ‘taking their spots’. They are very good actors too, and we have no idea who came in 5th and 6th in nominations. I voted for Peter Dinklage, and I’d probably have to have Giancarlo in second, but Jim Carter would definitely be third to me, and someone else would make way for Patinkin and Noble.

    • Michael says:

      Mandy is a notorious diva-douchebag, so I’m not surprised that he was snubbed. Katie Sagal was snubbed. She was clearly better than at least a couple of the nominees. In this category, I could list about 12 men that I think deserved nominations including all of the men nominated. The others, like John and Mandy, are equally deserving but this was a tremendously tough category. I don’t see their omissions as snubs.

      • Chris says:

        While he is apparently a diva and difficult to work with because he is such a perfectionist he is apparently an incredibly nice man outside of the work zone. Don’t judge because we don’t really know anything about him. He could be an ass. But as an actor I admire him. The first season and a half of Chicago Hope holds a very special place in my heart and Homeland has become one of my favorite shows ever. That’s what matters. Please don’t insult someone you don’t know who I happen to greatly appreciate.

  7. Ahmed Hassan says:

    I love game of thrones
    And Peter was super amazing this season
    Peter deserves really deserves it

    • SG says:

      I think Dinklage deserved it last season, but this season the scripts were weaker. He did have good moments in Blackwater, but I don’t think he had as much interesting material as he did in the first season. But after reading the third book of the ASOIAF series, I think he could have a banner year next season. Tremendous actor when he has good material.

      • Ahmed Hassan says:

        ” I will hurt u for this , A day will come when u think u are safe and happy and ur joy will turn to ashes and u’ll know that the debt is paid”

        Enough said I guess ??

  8. Sam says:

    Aaron Paul. Did you SEE his performance in Problem Dog? Unbelievable.

    • SG says:

      I completely agree. His turn in Problem Dog alone is enough to convince me to give him the award. I heard the writer/director of the episode told people that when they finished that big scene everyone on the set applauded because they knew right away Aaron Paul had put in an incredible performance.

      • tad says:

        Did you see the episode in season 3 — “One minute” in which Aaron paul has not one but two emotionally charged solos in a hospital bed? anyways, Aaron submitted End Times — in which he points a gun at Walt accusing him that he poisoned his girlfriend’s son.

  9. Sareeta says:

    While I love both Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones, Giancarlo Esposito or Aaron Paul deserve it. Since Aaron has already won an Emmy, I hope Giancarlo gets it. Gus Fring is one of the most memorable villains/characters of all time thanks to his performance.

  10. buffy522 says:

    I haven’t watched Downton Abbey yet. I’m sure these men are great and the British accents always seem to help! But this race is so tight! I was just mesmerized by Aaron Paul as I’ve watched Breaking Bad from Season 1 just in the last month. His growth as an actor is amazing and the last season he just rocked it.

    • SG says:

      I have watched Downton Abbey and I’m perplexed by the Emmy noms. It is a good show, but compared to Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, Mad Men or Homeland I just don’t see it even close to being in the same league. But I do recommend it if you’re looking for a new show to watch, especially if you like period pieces.

  11. Monica says:

    Those are brave men wanting our trophy. Let’s go kill them!

  12. Karen says:

    It was really hard choosing between Aaron Paul and Giancarlo Esposito, but I ended up putting my vote towards Aaron Paul. But can’t these two get to share it?!

  13. cjeffery7 says:

    i dont watch breaking bad but from everything i’ve heard, giancarlo esposito was out of his mind fantastic. second choice would be peter dinklage of course. too bad my vote doesn’t count in real life =(

    • Mark says:

      No offense but I’m glad your vote doesn’t count in real life. You want to vote for an actor in a show you’ve never seen just because you heard he had a good performance? That’s kinda everything that’s wrong with the awards show voting system….

      (and yes, he was amazing, but still…you didn’t even see it!)

      • cjeffery7 says:

        wow, chill dude. i’m just trying to give him my 1-in-7-billion-people-on-earth’s worth of props, benefit of the doubt based on all i’ve heard, which is a lot. i may wish my vote counted, but i know it doesn’t. and frankly, if i DID have one vote in any category that did count, it wouldn’t be this one, and it wouldn’t be made lightly.

        • Mark says:

          Huh? Your post is absurd. So you basically would just vote for the most popular candidate regardless if you’ve seen their work or not (but it’s a category you’re not interested in so that makes it okay?) it’s people like you who prevented quality shows like The Wire or Buffy to get any real recognition because all voters wanted to do was vote for shows like The Sopranos just because of all the buzz around it. Shame on you.

    • SG says:

      Giancarlo Esposito is terrific. You should start watching Breaking Bad, it is amazing. Aaron Paul was a real revelation to me. I knew Bryan Cranston was good from his sitcom days, but I had never seen Aaron Paul in anything before and the two of them make the show. Every scene they have together is masterful.

    • sam says:

      Seriously, I didn’t really got around to getting to Breaking Bad even though I heard how great it was — but I started it and I could not stop watching it — it is one amazing show. Amazing performances and a storyline that will have you hooked as if you were on drugs. Rent it on netflix NOW.

  14. kethomas says:

    Five words: Aaron Paul in Problem Dog.

  15. Mark says:

    Michael Emerson as Benjamin Linus. I don’t give a **** that LOST has been off the air for years. Every year, the winner should be Michael Emerson as Benjamin Linus.

    • Seedless says:

      It should be called “The Michael Emerson Award for Best Supporting Actor”. To say Esposito is a better villain than Linus is blasphemy. Linus would have Gus Fring manipulated in seconds if their fictional worlds were ever to cross. Linus was MUCH more dangerous, creepy, and compelling. That being said, Esposito should win this year.

  16. Jared Harris was utterly mortifying and tragic in this last season of Mad Men – amazing work

    • SG says:

      Harris is my favorite actor on the show, so good. I’m also surprised how much I like Vincent Kartheiser on Mad Men, as I did not like him at all on Angel. I wouldn’t have minded seeing VH get a nomination instead of those Downtown Abbey actors.

  17. RSL is not in your poll but should be! He was amazing in the last 2 episodes of House and should’ve won an Emmy already. Wilson’s Heart season 4 episode anyone? He made me cry like a baby with Anne Dudek (amber)

  18. kierahillmin says:

    All these actors are worthy of the win. Such incredible talent in this category. It’s a tight race for sure. I’m gonna have to go with Aaron Paul though. He has such emotional depth and nails every dramatic scene that he is in. My second choice would be Peter Dinklage. He is always a stand-out and turns every scene he is in into gold.

  19. Patti says:

    still think john noble of fringe and robert carlyle of once upon a time should be duking it out or tie as winners of this category. they both deserve it for the past season

  20. Alan says:

    ive still to watch most of these but as long as it doesnt go to downton ill be very happy, sick of all the praise heaped on that waste of money and airtime

  21. Brandy says:

    Another vote for John Noble!

  22. Pat says:

    Game of thrones & mad men are sooooooo overrated. Never saw the british show. Only one who deserve it are gus and jesse and you know i gotta give it to my babe jesse!! He is why i watch the show because you just want to love him and hug him, he really makes you feel for him.

  23. Brandy says:

    I think Peter Dinklage will win an Emmy but I think Jared Harris will give him a run for his money. He was excellent on Mad Men in S5, especially the last episode he was in.

    • Pat says:

      Tyrion is funny and all but come on that british accent is so fakey fake.

      • Carly says:

        Tyrion’s “fakey fake” British accent was good enough for Peter Dinklage to win the Golden Globe this year. What’s different about the Emmys is Jared Harris wasn’t in the running because Mad Men Season 5 premiered after the Golden Globes. I wouldn’t be surprised if Jared Harris wins.

      • Alexis says:

        Yeah Peter is awesome but that accent is hilariously hokey!

  24. Charlotte says:

    Brilliant options here, but Peter Dinklage should just win every Emmy. He is amazing. Too bad for these other great actors that they have to be in the same category as him.

  25. John DeMayo says:

    John Noble.

    Oh. Wait. He’s not nominated?

    Okay, then. It would have to be Robert Carlyle.

    What?! He’s not nominated either?

    Peter Dinklage, then.

    Really, though, they’re *all* outstanding. Dinklage and Esposito are the frontrunners, with Harris slightly behind. As always, this is the strongest category.

  26. Britta Unfiltered says:

    I totally wanted Giancarlo to win this before the nominations were announced. Then the Emmys went and shocked me by nominating Jared Harris over their staple John Slattery. I never expected that to happen. And I’ve wanted Jared to win an Emmy for years. He’s just so good on Mad Men, and Commissions and Fees, the episode he submitted, had me in tears by the end. So I vote for him. But I am happy also if Giancarlo wins. I think I’d also be okay with Aaron Paul winning, b*tch. Even Peter Dinklage I’d sorta be okay with, but he’s weaker at my no. 4 pick. The Downton Abbey guys…No. Just no.
    .
    I think Giancarlo probably really wins it, but Jared Harris is a dark horse here. Just the fact he got nominated over Slattery says the Emmy voters really freaking liked his performance this season. And I think Commissions and Fees is a stronger showing for Harris than Hermanos is for Esposito. Maybe he should have submitted Salud, I thought that was a better one for him. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens on this contest.

  27. hatem. says:

    Tv arabe

  28. joe says:

    i can’t choose between Peter, Giancarlo and Aaron

  29. M Walker says:

    I VOTE 10X’S over for Jim Carter, Downton Abbey.Couldn’t wait to watch each week! The show is full of award winning actors.

  30. brianne says:

    peter dinklage makes games of thrones

  31. Alexis says:

    Ideally I’d like to see Aaron Paul and Giancarlo Esposito share it. Incredible, memorable, heart-wrenching performances from them both!

  32. Joshua says:

    Two words for you – JARED HARRIS!

  33. aayaan says:

    as much as I feel someone from breaking bad could win (and It’ll be deserving), I feel this has Jared Haris written all over it.
    Firstly, his characrer dies (which always helps). Secondly, his episode submission is brilliant. ‘Commissions and fees’ is not only the episode Jared commits sucide, but also its nominated for ‘outstanding writing’. Its a close race between Giancarlo Esposito and Jared Harris, but I think Jared will prevail.

    Expected winner – Jarred Harris

  34. Seedless says:

    Esposito. He should then invite Paul and Dinklage to the stage to share it with him. This is, by far, the best and worst category. No matter what, someone who deserved to win will not.

  35. lucaltair815 says:

    The one that deserves it the most is Aaron Paul, because he clearly is the best among the six nominated. That said, the prize will probably go to Dinklage, with Esposito a little behind.

  36. Jane Toscano says:

    Giancarlo Esposito is one of the finest character actors of our time and more than deserving of an Emmy for his exceptional work in Breaking Bad. Mr. Esposito has a long history of working in film, Broadway and TV and is a fantastic professional dancer too! One could not find justification for not honoring him with this award. Gus Fring became someone we loved, hated, feared and most of all, never really knew. Mr. Esposito gave us Gus Fring, one of the top “bad men” along Correlone, Scarface, Heisenberg and acting skills that are reminiscent of the great Al Pacino.

    Bravo, Mr. Esposito, for a beautiful performance that we will never forget!

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