Does size matter when it comes to supporting roles at Emmys?

The longer a performance, the more time that it has to showcase range, build empathy and make an impact. Thus screen time is a key factor when predicting the Emmy acting races. However, while these totals (as detailed below) provide food for thought, it is important to remember that voters are not timing performances. Thus, the numbers should only reinforce predictions instead of making them.

Emmys red carpet chats: Allison Janney (‘Mom’) and Kate Mulgrew (‘OITNB’)

It is arguable whether having the most screen time in absolute or fractional terms is more beneficial. Kate Mulgrew (“Orange is the New Black“) was on screen for about the same number of minutes as Allison Janney (“Mom“), but Mulgrew’s episode was over twice as long, so her presence may have felt comparatively limited and contributed to Janney’s victory.

Anna Chlumsky (“Veep“) actually clocked more time than either, but many of her scenes featured her in the background without dialogue. Showy scene-stealing roles like Janney’s are typically what win Emmys, but Tony Hale (“Veep”) and Merritt Wever (“Nurse Jackie”) proved last year that voters have a soft spot for truly supporting characters without arcs.

An appearance in a fellow nominee’s submission is worth pondering. Because his “Modern Family” co-star Jesse Tyler Ferguson was also nominated, voters saw two Ty Burrell performances. It is easy to imagine that that helped his path to the podium, especially since Burrell had more time in Ferguson’s episode than his own. Their co-star Julie Bowen has the least time among regular performances this year, but faces competition from Maggie Smith for worst selection. Smith entered an extended episode with a miniscule share of screen time. It did not even help her “Downton Abbey” co-star Joanne Froggatt.

No winner had the most screen time; however, Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones“) is often in crowds scenes and looking on, like Chlumsky. Winners Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad“) and Janney had more lines than them. Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”) was in the middle of his pack, but variance in active time was low for his category.

Back stage at the Emmys: Casts of ‘Breaking Bad’ and ‘Modern Family

Best Drama Supporting Actor (20/59 minutes on average)
Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland”) 26/47 minutes in “Gerontion”
Josh Charles (“The Good Wife”): 21/43 minutes in “Hitting the Fan”
Aaron Paul (“Breaking Bad”): 21/47 minutes in “Confessions”
Jim Carter (“Downton Abbey”): 20/113 minutes in “Episode One”
Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones”): 17/50 minutes in “The Laws of Gods and Men”
Jon Voight (“Ray Donovan”): 16/52 minutes in “Fite Nite”

Best Drama Supporting Actress (12/55 minutes on average)
Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”): 20/53 minutes in “The Lion and the Rose”
Anna Gunn (“Breaking Bad”): 19/47 minutes in “Ozymandias”
Joanne Froggatt (“Downton Abbey”): 9/47 minutes in “Episode Two” & 5/92 in Smith’s
Maggie Smith (“Downton Abbey”): 9/92 minutes in “The London Season” & 4/47 in Froggatt’s
Christine Baranski (“The Good Wife”): 7/43 minutes in “The Last Call”
Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”): 7/47 minutes in “The Strategy”

Best Comedy Supporting Actor (11/23 minutes on average)
Fred Armisen (“Portlandia”): 18/22 minutes in “Pull-Out King”
Andre Braugher (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine”): 14/21 minutes in “Christmas”
Tony Hale (“Veep”): 13/26 minutes in “Crate”
Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Modern Family”): 8/21 minutes in “Message Received” & 6/21 in Burrell’s
Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”): 5/21 minutes in “Spring-a-Ding-Fling” & 6/21 in Ferguson’s
Adam Driver (“Girls”): 5/28 minutes in “Two Plane Rides”

Best Comedy Supporting Actress (13/34 minutes on average)
Anna Chlumsky (“Veep”): 21/27 minutes in “Detroit”
Allison Janney (“Mom”): 16/21 minutes in “Estrogen and a Hearty Breakfast”
Kate Mulgrew (“Orange is the New Black”): 15/51 minutes in “Tit Punch”
Kate McKinnon (“Saturday Night Live”): 12/65 minutes in “Host: Anna Kendrick”
Mayim Bialik (“The Big Bang Theory”): 7/19 minutes in “The Indecision Amalgamation”
Julie Bowen (“Modern Family”): 4/20 minutes in “The Feud”

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