‘Breaking Bad’ battle: Will dark horse Jonathan Banks steal Aaron Paul’s Emmy?

“You know how they say it’s been a pleasure? It hasn’t.”

During the first half of “Breaking Bad‘s” final season that aired last summer, Jonathan Banks‘s character Mike Ehrmantraut received more screen time than ever. His character evolved from a mysterious hit man to a brooding grandfather whose hilarious one-liners (including the one above) packed a punch.

But will the extra critical acclaim and fan support for Banks be enough to take down reigning frontrunner and “Breaking Bad” co-star Aaron Paul at the Emmys? After all, as Mike would say, “Just because you shot Jesse James, don’t make you Jesse James.”

According to Gold Derby’s exclusive polling of Experts, Editors and Users, both men will receive Emmy nominations this year as Drama Supporting Actor. This will be Paul’s fourth bid for the role of Jesse Pinkman, while Banks will be receiving his first notice from the TV academy since 1987 when he was nominated in this same category for “Wiseguy”.

Paul’s previous two wins for “Breaking Bad” are pushing him to the front of the pack with 9/4 odds, while dark horse Banks makes it into the sixth place position with 12/1 odds. The other four contenders are Mandy Patinkin (“Homeland“) with 4/1 odds, Peter Dinklage (“Game of Thrones“) at 13/2, Sam Waterston (“The Newsroom“) with 10/1 odds and Corey Stoll (“House of Cards“) at 12/1.

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Despite those favorable numbers for Paul, the two-time champ may be vulnerable this year if the precursors are any indication.

While Banks was nominated at last month’s Critics’ Choice TV Awards (losing to Michael Cudlitz from “Southland“), Paul was snubbed. And at the recent Saturn Awards, Banks claimed victory as TV’s Best Supporting Actor while Paul was once again forgotten.

Another interesting Emmy factoid: Since this category was first awarded in 1959, no man has ever won more than two trophies as Drama Supporting Actor, meaning history is not on Paul’s side to three-peat.

If this year truly is a battle between Banks and Paul, it seems as though Banks may be pulling ahead as the frontrunner. According to posters in the Gold Derby forums, out of last summer’s eight eliible episodes, Paul may not have an Emmy-worthy one to submit to judges that’s as good as his previous winning entries “Half Measures” and “End Times.” Conversely, Banks is almost universally cited as the season’s MVP by fans and critics, and he could very well win if he submits to judges the penultimate episode of the season entitled “Say My Name.”

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Find out if Banks and Paul are both able to squeak out dualing Emmy bids when the TV academy announces nominations on July 18.

In the meantime, vote for who you think will win by using our easy drag-and-drop menu below. 

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