Emmys 2011: Analyzing the Supporting Drama Actor Race - Including Our Dream Nominees
Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
Having been a perennial nominee since the mid-1990s (and having bagged Emmys twice, in ’98 for Homicide: Life on the Street and in ’06 for Thief), this man of a Certain Age should be a lock for another nod. He was up for this very award last year, and it might only take the slightest shift in the wind to put him back in the winner┬'s circle.
Scott Caan, Hawaii Five-0
Compared to, say, Southland, the bantering Five-0 style can make it sometimes feel like a virtual sitcom among dramas. But you┬'ve got to hand it to this second-generation Hollywood star: He brings a disarming conviction to his role of the yin to odd-couple partner Alex O┬'Loughlin┬'s yang.
Billy Campbell, The Killing
In the veteran actor’s favor is that he has a distinguished pedigree (Once and Again, Tales of the City) and a plum part on a much buzzed-about series (where he plays haunted politico Darren Richmond). Working against him: He┬'s never been nominated before, and his nuanced performance — like that of co-star Mirielle Enos — may be too low-key to stick in voters┬' minds.
Josh Charles, The Good Wife
Like co-star Chris Noth, despite an impressive resume (from Sports Night to In Treatment), he┬'s never been nominated for an Emmy. Alas, also like Noth, though the departure of Lost‘s alpha males increases his chances of being acknowledged for his sharp work, the competition among Good Wife‘s bevy of bad boys ┬– Alan Cumming principal among them ┬– likely offsets that advantage.
Michael Cudlitz, Southland
Escalating back problems tormented Southland┬'s John Cooper this past season, leading the cop down what could have been a one-way road to drug addiction. But the real agony for the stoic Cooper was in finally asking for help. Through it all, his portrayer made viewers feel his pain. It would be nice if some Emmy voters were among those watching.
Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
Last season, the Broadway mainstay┬'s work as the deliciously obnoxious Eli Gold earned him his first-ever Emmy nomination, for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series. Now eligible to compete for Supporting Actor instead, his showy performance likely gives him a leg up on castmates Chris Noth and Josh Charles. He’s pretty much a sure thing.
Matt Czuchry, The Good Wife
This season, Czuchry’s Cary went to work for the enemy camp and in doing so matured by leaps and bounds from the whippersnapper who braved Season 1’s “bake-off.” To wit: When the going got tough for his ex-colleague Kalinda (Emmy winner Archie Panjabi), Cary stood by her both as a loyal friend and a trusted mole. In the process, Czuchry toed that tricky line between villain and hero flawlessly.
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Though he┬'s never been Emmy-nominated, the way that, as cunning Tyrion Lannister, he turns Game of Thrones into a delectable mind game, makes it almost compulsory for Emmy voters to give him a nod. It doesn┬'t hurt, either, that he┬'s well known and should have HBO┬'s muscle behind him.
Walton Goggins, Justified
Though a nomination for the FX drama’s manipulative Boyd Crowder would be more than, well, justified, on paper it doesn┬'t look good for him. While the actor was an equally powerful standout on The Shield, he┬'s never been acknowledged by Emmy — and thus far neither has the series. (Justified‘s only nod has been for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music. Really, Emmy? Only the theme music?!)
Jared Harris, Mad Men
As Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce’s CFO, Harris had one memorable moment after another in Season 4. But it was during Lane’s violent showdown with his disapproving dad in “Hands and Knees” that the Brit thesp emerged as one of Mad Men‘s MVPs.
Shawn Hatosy, Southland
This season, the TNT cop drama threw so much at Det. Sammy Bryant ┬–- a broken marriage, a baby that might not be his, a dead partner, some vigilante justice -┬– that the role could easily have slipped from drama to melodrama. But in his portrayer┬'s capable hands, it was instead harrowing -┬– hard to watch and impossible to turn away from. If only more Emmy voters were familiar, or enamored of, the show; neither he, nor it, have ever been nominated.
Vincent Kartheiser, Mad Men
The Angel alum and youngest among Mad Men has to this point been passed over for a nomination in favor of elder co-star John Slattery. But, with Lost┬'s Michael Emerson and Terry O┬'Quinn out of the way, this could be the year the AMC drama’s deserving back bench sucks up multiple nods.
Joel Kinnaman, The Killing
Little known prior to landing the role of junkie-turned-homicide detective Stephen Holder on AMC’s just-renewed mystery drama, Kinnaman quickly became one of the show’s breakout performers ┬— and his seemingly skeevy, morally ambiguous character one of the most beloved. A worthy long-shot.
John Noble, Fringe
This season, Fringe split his duties between playing Our Walter and “Walternate” ┬— with a dash of Young Walter sprinkled in. Not only did he rise to the challenge(s), he rocked every single one of our worlds. Though he was snubbed the show┬'s first two seasons, the third time could ┬— and certainly should ┬— be the charm.
Chris Noth, The Good Wife
With that Lost boys club out of the way, The Good Wife┬'s disgraced husband has a much better shot. It’s hard to believe that Noth has never been nominated for an Emmy before (not for Law & Order, not even for Sex and the City!). The bad news is that a new potentially category-hogging boys club exists on his own show, and he could end up splitting votes with his castmates.
Denis O’Hare, True Blood
While the theatre vet memorably bounded between mincing and menacing as True Blood┬'s Big Bad Russell Edgington last season, anti-vampire voting prejudice seems strong! (Just ask Buffy and Angel┬'s James Marsters.) O’Hare’s odds of sucking up a nomination for the supernatural sudser seem slim unless HBO can capitalize on any momentum from the show’s receiving its first Outstanding Drama Series nod last year.
Michael Pitt, Boardwalk Empire
A nomination for the Boardwalk bad boy should be a no-brainer -┬– his portrait of reckless ambition as wannabe mobster Jimmy Darmody dazzled. Trouble is, the Dawson┬'s Creek heartthrob-turned-indie-movie star (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Silk) might feel too much the outsider for the often-mainstream Emmy club.
Michael Shannon, Boardwalk Empire
Splendid as he is as Agent Van Nelson, Boardwalk‘s creepy Dudley Do-Right, his profile is relatively low Emmywise, making his name a relative long shot for voters to check off on their ballots. Unless HBO goes all-out on his behalf, he will probably have to settle for cheering on co-star Steve Buscemi come awards night.
John Slattery, Mad Men
While much of the buzz around Mad Men‘s fourth season seems to surround the Don/Peggy ┬"Suitcase┬" episode, after three nominations in a row for the dapper (if occasionally sloshed) Roger Sterling, Slattery is poised to not only receive a fourth nod but perhaps score his first win.