Of the four acting categories in a dramatic series, this is the most uncertain for a variety of different reasons. First is the Television Academy’s new ruling of how to classify a ‘guest’ actor in a drama series, which is forcing shows such as CBS’ The Good Wife to reevaluate its actor submission categories. Also is the exclusion of Breaking Bad, which typically dominated the category in the last few years with Aaron Paul winning three times in the last four years. Another typical contender, Josh Charles from The Good Wife is also no longer a guaranteed nominee after his character’s exit from the show last year. Without Paul and Charles, this opens the door for some fresh blood to finally win the coveted Emmy award.
Of the six available slots for the supporting category, three are already taken by actors from veteran shows. Jim Carter’s performance as “Mr. Carson” in PBS’ Downton Abbey seems likely considering his being nominated for the last three years. Additionally, Carter’s performance in the show’s fifth season offered some of the character’s most revealing and tender moments, which assures Carter will be seeing his fourth nomination. The same can be said for Mandy Patinkin for his role in Showtime’s Homeland. The show may have lost its appeal with voters for the ‘Best Drama Series’ category, but Patinkin remains a steady favorite with voters. Of course, Peter Dinklage as “Tyrion Lannister” in HBO’s Game of Thrones is the obvious nomination this year and currently stands as the potential frontrunner. With Game of Thrones having not won any substantial awards since Dinklage’s season one Emmy win for supporting actor, this may be an opportunity to award the show again in the same style.
The remaining three slots currently stand as wildcard nominations that, quite honestly, could go to anyone. The likelihood of these nominations may be tied with the momentum built with the shows being nominated. With that, Michael Kelly’s performance as “Doug Stamper” on Netflix’s House of Cards could sneak in a nomination. Also due to the Academy’s new ruling on ‘guest’ roles, Alan Cumming could potentially see himself in the supporting category for the first time for The Good Wife. Being no stranger with the Emmys, Cumming has been nominated twice for his role as “Eli Gold” and his recent Golden Globe nomination for the role further assists his chances of being nominated. Also in the running is Ben Mendelsohn whose performance in Netflix’s Bloodline has critics currently raving about him.
Also regarded as potential nominees is Jon Voight, whose scene-stealing role as “Mickey Donovan” in Showtime’s Ray Donovan grabbed him a nomination last year and a Golden Globe win as well. Can he succeed in getting a second nomination for a show that doesn’t get that much traction? Brendan Coyle’s tragic performance as “Bates” in Downton Abbey could also sneak a nomination if voters were further intrigued by the Bates/Anna subplot in the show’s latest season. John Slattery seems to be gaining some last minute momentum as the strikingly hilarious “Roger Sterling” in AMC’s final season of Mad Men. If voters show a lot of love with Mad Men, Slattery could see himself sliding with the momentum to getting a final acting nomination for the show. However, Jonathan Banks’ recent Critic Choice Award win for his role as “Mike Ehrmantraut” in AMC’s Better Call Saul suggests Banks is more likely than most to getting himself a nomination. Academy voters have already given Banks a nomination for his performance as “Mike Ehrmantraut” in the past during his run on Breaking Bad, which asks the question of whether voters will see him as being worthy of being nominated for playing the same role on another show.
Below are Dan’s Predictions for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series:
1. Peter Dinklage – “Game of Thrones”
2. Jim Carter – “Downton Abbey”
3. Mandy Patinkin – “Homeland”
4. Jonathan Banks – “Better Call Saul”
5. Jon Voight – “Ray Donovan”
6. Ben Mendelsohn – “Bloodline”
Spoiler: John Slattery – “Mad Men”
Long Shot: Michael Kelly – “House of Cards”