The SAG Awards for TV don’t have separate acting categories for supporting and lead players, and in their 22-year history there is only one category where a supporting player has yet to win: Best TV Drama Actor. Peter Dinklage hopes the popularity of “Game of Thrones” will allow him to make history as the first to do so.
The SAG Awards honor both film and television with one notable difference: there are no supporting categories on the TV side. On the film side, they give out six awards: Ensemble, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress and Stunt Ensemble. On the television side they give out nine awards — Comedy Actor, Actress and Ensemble; Drama Actor, Actress and Ensemble, Movie/Mini Actor and Actress; and Stunt Ensemble. If they added supporting categories the television awards increase to 15, more than double the amount awarded on the film side. The Screen Actors Guild may favor a pared down TV lineup because their awards are handed out in late January (this year on Jan 29, 2017) in the run-up to the Oscars, which gives the film contenders extra notoriety, while the Emmys are not handed out until seven months later.
The SAG Awards have awarded many supporting players in Best Comedy Actor: Jason Alexander (“Seinfeld,” the inaugural winner in 1994), David Hyde Pierce (“Frasier,” 1995), Sean Hayes (“Will & Grace,” 2002, 2003, and 2005) and Ty Burrell (“Modern Family,” 2013). They’ve also awarded supporting actors in movie/mini categories: Paul Newman (“Empire Falls,” 2005), Jeremy Irons (“Elizabeth I,” 2006), Kevin Kline (“As You Like It,” 2007) and Paul Giamatti (“Too Big To Fail,” 2011).
For the past two years Kevin Spacey (“House of Cards”) has been the actors’ choice for Best Drama Actor, but that category has never had a three-time consecutive champion, so we should watch out for a potential new winner. But Dinklage has been nominated for the late three years in a row without winning, so what are the chances he’ll win on his fourth try?
Consider what happened in the Comedy Actor category in 2013. From 2006 to 2012 the category was dominated by Alec Baldwin (“30 Rock”). The show had been off the air for almost a year when Baldwin was nominated one last time in 2013, but the seven-time champ still seemed unbeatable. However, he was upset by Ty Burrell (“Modern Family”) on his fourth nomination. And in the Drama Actor category two individuals have also won on their fourth nomination: Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”) in 2009 and Bryan Cranston (“Breaking Bad”) in 2012 (he would win again in 2013).
In addition to his three straight Drama Actor nominations Dinklage has been nominated four times as a member of the “Game of Thrones” ensemble cast (2011, 2013-2015). He also recognized previously for his work in “The Station Agent” (2003) with nominations for Best Film Actor and Best Film Ensemble. Dinklage is also a two-time Emmy winner (2011 and 2015), and a Golden Globe winner (2011).
According to Gold Derby’s exclusive odds, recent Emmy winner Rami Malek (“Mr. Robot”) is in first place to win Best Drama Actor (21/10 odds), two-time reigning champ Spacey sits in second place (5/2 odds), Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”) is in third place (7/2 odds), and then Dinklage is fourth (9/2 odds). But he’s on the most popular show on television, which also recently broke the record for most Emmy wins for any drama series in history. As with Cranston and “Breaking Bad,” not rewarding the show may start to look like a glaring oversight, and Dinklage is “Game of Thrones” biggest star, so voters may finally be inclined to give him his due.
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