With four of last year’s Supporting Drama Actor contenders out of the hunt, there’s a lot of room in the Emmy category for new nominees. One of the strongest rookie rivals is Michael Shannon of “Boardwalk Empire,” which won Best Drama Series at the Golden Globes and Best Ensemble at the SAG Awards. Shannon is a past Supporting Actor Oscar nominee (“Revolutionary Road”) who now portrays a key character in the hot HBO series: he’s Nelson Van Aldon, a federal agent who aims to topple Atlantic City’s bootlegging empire down.
But Van Aldon isn’t a pristine hero. He’s dark and complicated, someone guilty of much wrongdoing himself. “It can be very sad sometimes,” he tells Gold Derby. “I would want to beg and plead, ‘Please, can’t he just stay unsoiled a little longer?’ But it’s a theme of the show — every character is struggling with two different aspects or two sides of themselves. That’s what makes good drama.”