Interestingly enough, there was a time when, before the actual nominations came out, voters would narrow down all the contenders to the “top 10″. They obviously don’t do that anymore. But…we can still assume which contenders are at the top of the voter’s minds. Before I release my official nomination predictions around early July, I am going to run down which 10 or so contenders are the biggest threats…and maybe some personal long shots that I believe voters should consider. Here we go!
(Yeah…I copied that opening paragraph from last season…deal with it.)
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Here are the top Emmy contenders for Supporting Actor in a Drama Series. In alphabetical order…
This category was particularly difficult for me (it usually is) so…hopefully, whoever gets nominated in this category is at least mentioned in this post, whether they’re a “top contender” or not…
1. jonathan banks (breaking bad): PRO: Banks had a really great season this year. With Giancarlo Esposito out of the way, Banks was really been allowed to stand out as the “real badass in charge.” I don’t want to give any spoilers away but…let’s just say…something happens to his character by the end of the season that would make voters more inclined to pick him this year. CON: This would be his first nomination for the show so…it’s tricky. Otherwise, all signs should point towards a nomination.
2. jim carter (downton abbey): PRO: People don’t want to admit it, but he was nominated last year so, technically, he is a top contender. This season, Carter did more of the same…but it’s that “same” that the voters liked the last season. I could see him repeating. CON: Was Carter really nominated last year because voters genuinely admired his performance…or because they just wanted to give Downton Abbey as many nominations as possible? I believe Carter’s nomination mostly depends on how voters regarded the show this season.
3. alan cumming (the good wife): PRO: He’s been nominated twice (once for guest) for this role, but he was snubbed last year. People still really like how quirky this character is. He brings a sense of humor to the show and definitely stands out among the cast. Out of all the supporting actors on the show, he has the best chance of squeezing in. Also, if the New York voters watched his performance of Macbeth on Broadway and was upset that he was snubbed at the Tonys, giving him an Emmy nomination might make up for it. CON: I’m trying to think off the top of my head what “episode” he would submit if he got a nomination. I honestly can’t. Maybe that’s just my bad memory but…I don’t know if he stood out this season IMO.
4. peter dinklage (game of thrones): PRO: He won for his first season and received another nomination last year. The Emmy voters don’t seem to appreciate the cast much, but Dinklage is the one actor that stands out among them. CON: I’m the only person in the world that doesn’t watch this show regularly. I’m also the only person in the world who (from the little I’ve seen) isn’t crazy about his performance.
5. noah emmerich (the americans): PRO: I don’t know anything about this show or his role on the show, but I do know that Emmerich (of Truman Show fame) is a long working, respected actor who’s never been nominated before. If this show becomes the Emmy hit it is destined to be, I could see this as Emmerich’s chance at getting in. People are already predicting him for a nomination. CON: However, if The Americans doesn’t get the broad Emmy support, I’d be little surprised to see Emmerich’s name on the list of 6.
6. larry hagman (dallas): PRO: Despite its relatively good reviews, I don’t think Dallas was destined to be much of an Emmy favorite. However, voters may want to honor Hagman for his contribution to television and give him a posthumous nomination “John Ritter-style.” It’s not too far-fetched. He was nominated for the role in the 80′s a couple times, and he has gotten some good notices for his performance in the revival. I could definitely see a spot saved for him. CON: I hate asking this but…would Larry Hagman be such a strong contender if he were still alive? I don’t watch the show so I don’t truly know. However, I wasn’t hearing people say “Larry Hagman deserves an Emmy” before his death. Just a thought…
7. rob james-collier (downton abbey): PRO: Who else watched “Episode 7″ and went OH SHIT!? Yeah, exactly. This season, we saw a different side of Thomas. A more vulnerable side of him that voters, who we know watch the show, may appreciate. With Brendan Coyle curiously not being submitted, James-Collier could rightfully take the now empty Downton Abbey spot for this category. CON: James-Collier has always given a good performance, so why hasn’t he been nominated before? Even last season, him being nominated would have probably made more sense than Jim Carter. It’ll be interesting if voters have just noticed Rob James-Collier.
8. vincent kartheiser (mad men): PRO: At this point, it may seem silly to anticipate a Vincent Kartheiser nomination. However, John Slattery’s snub last year in favor of the new Jared Harris may give us some newfound hope. Maybe voters have just realized that there could possibly be more deserving actors than John Slattery…including Kartheiser. CON: Or…maybe Harris only got nominated last year because his character committed suicide, and now that he’s not eligible, Slattery will take his spot on the short list again. Maybe they’ll continue to snub Kartheiser the same way they’ve been snubbing him the last 5 years.
9. mandy patinkin (homeland): PRO: Last year, Patinkin didn’t get a nomination. The writers of Homeland took note and gave Patinkin stronger, more emotional material. In some cases, he would be the best thing about an episode. Last year, I didn’t particularly think he deserved a nomination. This year? I think he would be in my personal top 6. Do the voters feel the same way? Despite the criticisms this season has accumulated, Homeland is still expected to have a strong showing, possibly even stronger than last year. CON: But still…he wasn’t nominated last year. So this year will be especially nail-biting.
10. aaron paul (breaking bad): PRO: He has been nominated three times, winning for his last two eligible years. Even last year when most people were predicting Esposito (not me!), he still prevailed. He continues to be intense and sublime in his role and there is NO reason why he should be left off this year. CON: Absolutely no reason.
11. john slattery (mad men): PRO: He was consistently nominated for the show’s first four years before being dropped last season in favor of Jared Harris. However, now that Harris is gone, I could Slattery comfortably taking his spot again. Similar to Cumming, Slattery is nice comedic relief for the show and usually breaks the tension. Also, that signature grey hair? Sa-exy. CON: Even though Mad Men is a very popular show among voters, the “once you’re out, you’re out” rule may still apply to John Slattery. Also, so far (the show still has only one episode left to air), Slattery hasn’t been given too much to do.
12. corey stoll (house of cards): PRO: Since Midnight in Paris, Stoll has broken out and become a truly a respected actor. His performance in House of Cards has gotten praise and even earned him a Critics Choice Award nomination. If a complete newcomer can squeeze into the race, it’s probably Stoll. CON: Despite the praise, sometimes it takes a year or two before an actor is nominated. Just ask Aaron Paul…or even Michael C. Hall. Sometimes a voter simply needs more proof of worthiness before adding him to his or her ballot.
13. Sam Waterston (the newsroom): PRO: He’s been nominated for eight Emmys, but he’s never won for an acting performance. Nonetheless, he’s clearly an Emmy favorite and, I believe, being on the long running (and maybe tiring) Law & Order has kept him from receiving more Emmy nods. With this new, fresh role as network president Charlie Skinner, maybe he finally has a chance for Emmy glory. CON: No Golden Globe nomination might be a crutch (although, it’s much harder for a supporting performer to get nominated for a Golden Globe than an Emmy). Still, this show is very divided and Waterston will need all the people who love the show to vote for him in order to get the nomination.
Other strong contenders: Bobby Cannavale (Boardwalk Empire), Josh Charles (The Good Wife), Guillermo Diaz (Scandal), Ben Feldman (Mad Men), Walton Goggins (Justified), David Harewood (Homeland), Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel), Mads Mikkelsen (Hannibal), John Noble (Fringe), Dean Norris (Breaking Bad), Kevin Rahm (Mad Men)
Long shots worth considering: Michael Cuditz (Southland), Matt Czurchy (The Good Wife), Tony Goldwyn (Scandal), Jeff Perry (Scandal), Michael Shannon (Boardwalk Empire)
Even longer shots I recommend checking out: Noel Fisher, Cameron Monaghan, and Jeremy Allen White (Shameless), Jordan Garavis (Orphan Black), James Pickens Jr. (Grey’s Anatomy)