It’s saying something that Braugher scored many of the biggest laughs during Season 1 of Fox’s acclaimed comedy without ever uttering a word. Indeed, the six-time Emmy nominee’s rule-loving, openly gay Capt. Ray Holt often reprimanded/instructed his misfit band of detectives (to hilarious effect) with a raised eyebrow, a deadpan stare or a withering silence. The way Braugher maintained his air of icy authority while also hinting at Holt’s deep affection for his squad makes him a worthy contender in the Supporting Actor race.
Noel Fisher, Shameless
It takes a lot to steal the spotlight from the colorful and dysfunctional Gallagher clan, but Fisher did just that as his closeted hustler Mickey Milkovich went through the darkly comic and emotional journey of coming out. After years of playing it tough and defensive, Fisher carefully peeled back Mickey’s layers to reveal his vulnerable side and a big, beating heart (for Ian).
T.J. Miller, Silicon Valley
When this series about a tech startup first began, it would have been easy to dismiss the overly pompous Erlich Bachmman as a one-hit wonder looking to mooch off of his entreprenurial pal Richard’s profitable creation — he did provide living accommodations in exchange for a 10% stake in Richard’s idea. However as the season wore on, Miller’s performance transformed Erlich into the voice, if not the drive, of the company, convincing perpetually anxious Richard (and us) that there would be no “Pied Piper” — or Silicon Valley — without him.
Danny Pudi, Community
Abed’s “six seasons and a movie” mantra may not have come to fruition, but that didn’t stop Pudi from successfully carrying the NBC comedy to its bitter end. Even without his trusty sidekick, the actor’s alter-ego Abed managed to keep Community grounded in its own surreal reality through his genuine sincerity and incredible delivery. Though rumors of a revival via Hulu are offering fans a glimmer of hope, at this point, we’d settle for five seasons and an Emmy.
Albert Tsai, Trophy Wife
Hilarious beyond his years and able to hold his own alongside a small army of TV veterans, Tsai was the undisputed breakout star of the (infuriatingly) cancelled ABC comedy. Frankly, we’d do Bert-wheels all day if the young actor snagged a nod for his endearing performance. (And in case you don’t know, those are “like cartwheels, but with screaming.”)
James Wolk, The Crazy Ones
The truth is, giving Wolk an Emmy nod solely for his dreamy good looks would be a bit shallow. Fortunately, the Crazy Ones actor brought more than just a megawatt smile to the table. Although Zach Cropper could have been nothing more than a one-dimensional womanizer, Wolk brought a sense of compassion and thoughtfulness — and heaps of charisma — to a character we’ll miss seeing every week.