Yesterday we broke down the races for Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress in a Comedy Series, so today we’ll examine the dramatic side of the equation. A lot of readers requested more details on each of the nominees and their wish is my command. I’ll examine whether or not each actor deserves their nomination before revealing the snubs.
Outstanding Supporting Actress Drama Series
Anna Gunn, “Breaking Bad” (2/5) – The heavy favorite and defending champ. It will take a miracle to upset Gunn from making it back-to-back wins in this category. Breaking Bad’s epic final run is carrying a wave of momentum into this year’s awards, which should lead to many people involved celebrating with golden trophies at its post-show party.
Gunn is far from undeserving of this award as well. After years of fan abuse, she is getting her long overdue praise for playing the role of a wife that must find a way to survive her High School Chemistry teacher turned Drug Kingpin husband, Walter White.
Christine Baranski, “The Good Wife” (4/1) – This beloved, long time character actor has the best shot at pulling off the upset if voters feel “Breaking Bad fatigue” and decide to go in a different direction. She has been nominated three times previous for this character and has a submission episode in which she deals with the death of a close friend and colleague, right up Emmy voters ally. Baranski is a highly skilled veteran actor and The Good Wife continues to fight the good fight for Network TV Drama. She is more than deserving of this nomination and would be a worthy upset winner.
Joanne Froggat, “Downton Abbey” (9/1) – Downton Abbey received the legacy treatment this year as it has been regressing since the middle of the bloody third season. Froggat cannot be blamed for the creative failings of the show and she has been the heart of the show since the beginning. She deserves some recognition for her excellent work and this past season was by far her darkest and most dramatic. It was fascinating to see the journey this fan favorite went on and wonderful to see her come out stronger on the other side.
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey” (10/1) – Smith is the exact opposite of her co-star. She has gotten enough praise for three actors’ careers and certainly does not need more here.
Lena Headey, “Game of Thrones” (20/1) – Game of Thrones is more than just a technical marvel and great adaptation of George R.R. Martin’s book series. The acting is also tremendous. Fans may hate Cersei with a fiery passion, but that is the ultimate testament to Headey’s acting. She brings so many layers to the character and makes her feel so real. It is this feeling that makes us hate Cersei so much. The character could’ve easily come off as cartoonish in the hands of another actor.
Christina Hendricks, “Mad Men” (20/1) – Another glaring black mark on the Emmys record is the fact that no actor from Mad Men has ever won an award in either lead or supporting categories. As big of an embarrassment as that is and as much as I love Joan this is not a deserving nomination for Hendricks. She barely got any screen time in the seven episodes and when she did it was mostly one note, complaining about something in the office. Her submission episode is the most she got to work with and the speech she delivers to creepy coffee delivery man, Bob Benson, about choosing love is powerful.
This is a very deep category with many deserving actors, but with only two undeserving nominees out of the six selected it becomes difficult to find just two replacements. In other seasons it would be easy to go with the “Mother of Dragons,” but like Hendricks this was by far Emilia Clarke’s weakest season of material as I actually begun to find myself bored by stops across the narrow sea to see what she was up to. Or should I say “not” up to. Boom! Dragon burn!
Bellamy Young, “Scandal” – Young delivers one of the most fascinating and unpredictable characters on TV in this Shonda Rhimes thriller. Able to flip between a despicable villain and sympathetic with ease. Millie is never boring. A performance this rich and entertaining deserves to be recognized by the Academy.
Emily Bett Rickards, “Arrow” – Mark this down under both “author’s bias” and “never going to happen.” Yes, I love Arrow, but the biggest reason why is Bett Rickards’ Felicity. Before her guest stints turned into a recurring role, Arrow was an intriguing show that was operating on the edge of falling apart at all times. Rickards breathed fresh air into the series and brings a level of humor, fear, and intelligence that gives humanity to this superhero show.
Gunn is a heavy favorite, but at (2/5) that is not much of a payoff, so go with the lovable veteran Barinski at (4/1). It has at least a 25% chance of happening and has a better risk-reward than a Gunn bet.
Anna Gunn. Breaking Bad deserves a big send off next Monday and Gunn should be on the receiving end of it. After dealing with all the backlash and fan hate it is the least the Emmys can do for her.
Gunn again. The final eight episodes were airing during the lead up to last year’s Emmys, but were not eligible for consideration, and a lot of Emmy voters probably had that in their heads as they selected the winner. It will remain there again this year.
Outstanding Supporting Actor Drama Series
Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad” (1/2) – Paul took a step back during the final eight episodes after operating more as a co-lead in the previous three seasons, two of which earned him this award. He no longer has the advantage of extra screen time, which makes him fit better in this category, but also more difficult to win it. His submission episode though, “Confession,” was the only episode that treated him like the co-lead he became, so any voters that only watch that episode may not realize the lack of action happening to Jesse Pinkman throughout the final episodes.
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (3/1) – Another former winner that seemed to disappear at times this season, but when he was on screen, man did he steal the show. Whether being on trial for his life again, chained in a dungeon cell, watching a trial by combat to save his life, or murdering his former lover and father, Dinklage was as impressive as ever. As long as Tyrion remains alive Dinklage deserves a slot in this category.
Josh Charles, “The Good Wife” (5/1) – A flashy arc on a Network drama that ends in a sudden death? Emmy gold. Charles’ last season was by far his best and it is never easy to get nominated again after falling out of the field for a couple years, which demonstrates how deserving he is of this nomination.
Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan” (10/1) – A classic example of Emmy voters seeing a former movie star and acting legend signing on to a premium cable drama, then assuming he is automatically deserving of a nomination. A lot of people must have not actually watched Ray Donovan and Voight’s campy, over-the-top betrayal of the titular character’s father, Mickey Donovan.
Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey” (50/1) – Here’s a classic example of an actor becoming a staple in a category and voters just assuming that he still deserves to be nominated.
Mandy Patinkin. “Homeland” (50/1) – Patinkin was not immune from the muck that the third season of Homeland became. He was certainly not the problem, but at the same time he did not rise above it.
Half of the the field should be kicked out, leaving three open slots for dozens of deserving actors to fill.
Jeffery Wright, “Boardwalk Empire” – After Bobby Cannavale pulled off the upset last year as the season long antagonist in Boardwalk Empire it seemed to be a shoe-in that the equally talented Wright would at the very least get nominated for an even more impressive character. Dr. Narcisse mesmerized every time he stepped on screen. From the monologues to the facial reactions, everything about this performance was impressive.
Michael K. Williams, “Boardwalk Empire” – Omar Comin’. Williams’ Chalky White will never be his most memorable television character, but this past season he was given more to do than any other in his career, on both Boardwalk Empire and The Wire, and he absolutely knocked it out of the park. Feeding off the same co-lead advantage that Aaron Paul has enjoyed in the past Williams would be a threat to win this award if Emmy voters saw fit to nominate him. The “Wire bias” lives on for its actors.
Dean Norris, “Breaking Bad” – A tough call between him and another departed character, Charles Dance’s Tyrion, but the long over-looked Norris nailed the emotions Hank felt when he discovered that his brother-in-law had been the drug kingpin he’d been chasing for two years. Norris’ performance helped make those first six episodes, up to the famous ‘Ozymandias,’ the most intense stretch of episodes in television history.
I’m not feeling the favorite here, especially at (1/2). For similar reasons as his Good Wife co-star I like Josh Charles at (5/1). He is also a beloved actor in Hollywood and had a terrific final arc leading up to a dramatic death that set the internet ablaze. It would not be surprising to seem him honored next Monday, more like a 33% chance than 20, which is what makes this the best bet.
Jeffery Wright. A lot of people were shocked and upset last year when Cannavale won over Paul, Dinklage, and lovable grumpy grandpa Johnathan Banks. However, anyone that watches Boardwalk knew it was a well-deserved win, but the backlash might have affected Wright’s nomination or lack there of. This is highly unfortunate as his performance outdid Cannavale’s brilliance and is the most deserving to take home the gold.
Josh Charles. I’m going to put my money where my mouth is and call the upset. The Emmys are far less predictable than the Academy Awards and this seems like the type of move that it would make.