WHY HE DESERVES A NOD: Mike Ehrmantraut would probably scoff at the idea of an Emmy nomination — glitzy awards shows aren’t really his thing — but Banks proved once again he’s one of TV’s most captivating actors… even when he’s not saying a word. Banks’ work was minimalist as usual, as Mike worked his way into Gus Fring’s criminal empire, but he also gave us a glimpse of the massive grief hidden inside Mike’s heart, still furious over the death of his son. Sorry, Mike: You’re gonna have to rent a tux again this year.
BOBBY CANNAVALE, HOMECOMING
WHY HE DESERVES A NOD: Cannavale specializes in playing fast-talking hustlers, and he hit new heights — or new lows, rather — as monstrous corporate stooge Colin Belfast in Amazon’s throwback thriller. Nobody can bark angrily into a cell phone quite like him, and he did plenty of that here, but he also got even more sinister, faking a relationship with Julia Roberts’ Heidi to uncover how much she knew about his evil deeds. We loved his performance almost as much as we hated Colin.
NIKOLAJ COSTER-WALDAU, GAME OF THRONES
WHY HE DESERVES A NOD: We wholeheartedly believed Jaime when he knighted Brienne, love and admiration making him glow like wildfire. We also believed it, wholeheartedly, when he broke the lady knight’s heart and rode south to reunite with Cersei. The reason for our faith, on both fronts? Coster-Waldau is so damn good at playing Thrones‘ flawed golden boy… yet he’s only been nominated for an Emmy once in eight seasons. Time for the Television Academy to make like the Lannisters and pay its debts, no?
KIERAN CULKIN, SUCCESSION
WHY HE DESERVES ANOD: It’d be easy to write off Culkin’s spoiled playboy Roman Roy as merely Succession‘s comic relief. And don’t get us wrong: He was a pro at delivering (with glee!) the scathing one-liners that populated the HBO satire’s first season. But he also turned in a fascinating character study of an entitled brat who craves power, yet scoffs at the responsibilities that come with it. Roman is just so much fun to hate — and Culkin’s consistent scene-stealing ultimately became one of the year’s best performances.
PETER DINKLAGE, GAME OF THRONES
WHY HE DESERVES A NOD: Poor Tyrion didn’t have the best Thrones season ever — that’s bound to happen when the queen you love from afar becomes a tyrant — but Dinklage was on fire as the royal adviser watched his world crumble. The Emmy-winning actor, consistently amazing throughout the series’ eight seasons, capped his run with scenes touching (that wrenching goodbye with Jaime) and tough (you try selling Bran as Westeros’ next big thing). Now if only we’d gotten to hear him finish off that joke about the honeycomb and the jackass!
ANSON MOUNT, STAR TREK: DISCOVERY
WHY HE DESERVES A NOD: Before Season 2 of Discovery, Christopher Pike was mostly a blank slate in Trek history, but Mount filled in the gaps wonderfully, bringing a cool confidence with him to the captain’s chair. Decisive yet willing to listen, businesslike but with a twinkle in his eye, Mount’s Pike represented a welcome dose of stability at Discovery‘s helm — and Mount even got to hint at Pike’s inner demons with a connection to the classic Trek episode “The Menagerie.” To a nomination, we say: Aye-aye.