Peter Dinklage ("Game of Thrones") made a come-from-behind effort in recent days to win his second Emmy as Best Drama Supporting Actor on Sunday. He had trailed a good bit in our exclusive Gold Derby odds but had worked his way into second place with 3/1 odds by the time of the ceremony.
He beat out frontrunner Jonathan Banks, who had earned three Emmy nominations in this category, all for different shows. The latest was for "Better Call Saul," the prequel series to Emmy kingpin "Breaking Bad," which gave him outstanding 2/5 odds.
Banks first competed for this award in 1989 for playing Frank McPike in "Wiseguy," but lost to Larry Drake ("L.A. Law"). It took almost a quarter century for him to return: he was next nominated in 2013 for playing Mike Ehrmantraut in "Breaking Bad," but that time the award went to Bobby Cannavale ("Boardwalk Empire").
Banks is back as Mike in "Saul," which was spun off from "Breaking Bad" earlier this year. He submitted the episode "Five-O," which was also nominated for Best Drama Writing. In it, we learn Mike's tragic history as a Philadelphia police officer who killed two corrupt cops in revenge after they murdered his son.
He could not overcome a virtual "Game of Thrones" sweep that included Dinklage, who had picked up five straight nominations as Tyrion Lannister in HBO's fantasy epic. He won on his first try in 2011 and now again in 2015. He submitted the episode "Hardhome," in which he meets Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke) for the first time and advises her on how she might conquer and rule a kingdom.
Ranked third with 10/1 odds was first-time nominee Ben Mendelsohn. The Australian actor stars in "Bloodline" as Danny, the black sheep of the Rayburn family who returns home to the Florida Keys and entangles his family in a drug operation. He submitted "Episode 12" to Emmy judges. In it, his conflict with his brother John (Kyle Chandler, who submitted the same episode in the Drama Actor race) comes to a head during a climactic confrontation on the beach.
Michael Kelly ("House of Cards") was also a first-time nominee. He got 14/1 odds to prevail as ruthless political fixer Doug Stamper. "House of Cards" had five acting nominations, more than any other drama this year, which indicates strong support from that branch of the TV academy. That support paid off with a Drama Guest Actor win for Reg E. Cathey at the Creative Arts Awards last weekend. Kelly submitted "Chapter 27," the third season premiere, in which Doug struggles with his sobriety while fighting to recover from a severe beating in the woods.
Alan Cumming ("The Good Wife") trailed with 50/1 odds. This was his third nomination for playing political strategist Eli Gold in the CBS legal drama. He was first nominated for Best Drama Guest Actor in 2010 (losing to John Lithgow in "Dexter"), and then graduated to the Drama Supporting Actor contest in 2011 (that award went to Dinklage). This was his first nomination in four years, and he submitted the episode "Undisclosed Recipients," in which Eli schools Alicia (Julianna Margulies) on how to handle demanding campaign donors after she wins her election for state's attorney.
Ranked last in the category with 100/1 odds was Jim Carter ("Downton Abbey"), nominated for the fourth year in a row as faithful butler Charles Carlson. He submitted "Episode 5.09," the "Moorland Holiday" Christmas special, in which Carson buys a bed-and-breakfast and proposes marriage to Mrs. Hughes (Phyllis Logan), which she accepts.
Photo: Peter Dinklage in "Game of Thrones." Credit: HBO