In the Emmy race for Best Supporting Drama Actor, there are two past champs (Aaron Paul, Peter Dinklage), two former nominees (Jonathan Banks, Jim Carter) and two men new to the category (Bobby Cannavale, Mandy Patinkin).
Paul already won a pair of Emmys for “Breaking Bad” (2010, 2012), tying the record for most wins in this category along with Michael Conrad (“Hill Street Blues”), Larry Drake (“L.A. Law”), Stuart Margolin (“The Rockford Files”) and Ray Walston (“Picket Fences”). Paul may be en route to his third thanks to having a curious advantage in this category — he competes against a costar (Banks). Since Emmy judges view a sample episode submitted by each nominee, that means they see two episodes of “Breaking Bad.” Paul benefits from getting extra screen time on Banks’ submission and vice versa.
In his episode this year, Paul has a great arc as his character Jesse decides to leave the meth business after a tragedy involving an innocent boy. And on co-star Banks’ episode, Paul has a long, drawn-out argument with Bryan Cranston that lasts for several minutes.
But most Gold Derby Editors predict Banks will beat his costar. He contends here for the first time for “Breaking Bad,” but he received a nomination in this category in 1989 for “Wiseguy.” Crazy at it sounds, Banks is the first actor in the history of this category to receive two nominations for two different series. By simply receiving the bid, Banks has already entered the record books. While fans and critics loved the character of Mike Erhmantraut, Emmy voters might be turned off by his gruff, oftentimes expressionless demeanor. The final 10 minutes of his episode are quite powerful, but he shares those scenes with Bryan Cranston who has a tendency to overshadow anyone else on screen. Just like Paul, Banks gets to be seen on two episodes thanks to his co-star also being nominated. On Paul’s episode, Banks get a great physical scene where he ties up Cranston’s character to a radiator in order to make sure he can’t meddle with Banks’ plans to get out of the meth business.
Gold Derby’s Experts predict this category will go to Patinkin, who won Best Drama Actor for “Chicago Hope” (1995). We already know that voters adore his new show. Last year “Homeland” won Best Drama Series, Best Actor (Damian Lewis) and Best Actress (Claire Danes). Patinkin submitted the season finale in which he has a memorable scene at the end praying over hundreds of dead victims of a terrorist explosion. He also gets to yell at Danes’ character near the middle of the episode, showing an impressive range from beginning to end. His performance gets extra points because it’s the most emotionally flashy one out of all nominees.
Dinklage won this category in 2011 for playing Tyrion Lannister on the HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones.” He also prevailed at the Golden Globes in 2012. This year marks his third consecutive Emmy nomination and he could win again thanks to his episode submission in which he gets sloppy drunk at his wedding. Emmy voters love a good drunk role. Dinklage’s 2011 victory was thanks to an episode in which he gives a lengthy speech while intoxicated. This year, however, he plays the drunkenness more for laughs, which may not have the same effect on voters. Also in this year’s submission, Dinklage’s character refuses to consummate his wedding because his young bride isn’t comfortable with the forced marriage arrangement — a selfless act that will surely endear him to Emmy judges.
Carter receives his second bid in as many years for playing the Butler on PBS’s “Downton Abbey.” Despite having an important presence on the series, Carter’s role as stoic Mr. Carson doesn’t allow him to emote as much as some of his competitors, so Emmy voters may not feel the need to reward him. In the episode, Mr. Carson deals with the fallout from one of his workers being outed as gay. The way “Downton Abbey” tells its stories doesn’t benefit any of the actors on this show — unless your name happens to be Maggie Smith. Each episode focuses on so many storylines and feature so many characters, it’s distracting for Emmy voters who must sit through the entire shenanigans in order to get to the few scenes that actually showcase the nominee.
Cannavale is a previous Emmy winner (Comedy Guest Actor, “Will & Grace,” 2005), but this is his first nomination in this category. He played Gyp Rosetti on “Boardwalk Empire” for only one season, but wound up being the show’s sole acting nominee this year. His episode doesn’t feature a lot of screen time, but when Cannavale does appear on camera you can’t take your eyes off of him, particularly during the church scene when he yells at God and then beats up a preacher. Cannavale’s lack of screen time isn’t the only drawback. Also going against him is the fact that his storyline is completely sidelined from the rest of the events of the episode and might be confusing to Emmy voters who aren’t regular viewers of the show.
GOLD DERBY EDITORS’ SLUGFEST: WHO’LL WIN EMMY FOR BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES?
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