My Picks For This Years Emmys

Part 4: Outstanding Supporting Actor In A Drama


This is the category with the most room for growth. Over the 2010s, it was dominated by Aaron Paul (three Emmys) and Peter Dinklage (four). With Game of Thrones finally gone from the ranks (it averaged three nominations in this category the last three seasons Thrones was on the air), there will have to be some new choices. Considering that the majority of the Westworld actors have gone for the lead roles, it seems like a new crop of actors will be here. Here are my best guesses.

Jonathan Banks, Better Call Saul

Even Peter Dinklage admitted that Banks should’ve won at least once of the two last times he won. And its even a bigger shocks that Banks has never won at all in a career stretching back as far as Wiseguy. I’d call him the sentimental favorite, except that those of us (and particularly himself) would be hard pressed to call anything about Mike ‘sentimental’. So even if you don’t want to consider his body of work going all the way back to Season 3 of Breaking Bad, just consider some of his accomplishments this season, where he tried to recover from the murder of an innocent by going in a downward spiral, as he did his best in a futile effort to cut Nacho loose from the swamp he’s in, and in his finest moments, when he saved Jimmy’s life twice, then had to walk him through the desert, and then find himself the man’s only confidant. I don’t know what else the man has to do for an Emmy. He already had a great death scene.

Shut the f… up and give him an Emmy in peace

Billy Crudup, The Morning Show

In my opinion, the only threat to Banks’ triumph at the Emmys is another seasoned character actor. Flying under the radar of his far more famous co-stars was the work of Crudup as Cory, the beleagured producer of the trouble series. Crudup has spent the past two decades as one of Hollywood’s most undervalued character actors, from Almost Famous and Watchmen, to roles in such great undervalued films as Jesus’ Son and The Stanford Prison Experiment. His triumph at the Broadcast Critics Awards was one of the bigger surprises of an award show that gives theses kinds of awards. He deserves some recognition from Hollywood, and while I don’t want him to triumph, he more than deserves a nomination.

Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul

Frankly, there are a lot of good choices for Supporting Actor from Better Call Saul — arguments for Michael Mando and Tony Dalton could be made just as easily, and there is a certain argument that there would be a level of laziness in renominating Esposito. But take nothing away from his work. Gus Fring was one of the great villains in television history, and one of the great pleasure of both shows has been watching the Chicken Man try to outmaneuver his enemies. Having to deal with Lalo, one of the most formidable foes he will face until, well, Heisenberg, has been fascination watching him try to work often in silence. Seeing him test an employee to make sure the frier is adequately cleaned while an informant is being captured, blowing up his restaurant to forestall his enemy, and coldly dismissing any idea that Nacho should be cut loose –reminds us how great a character Fring is and how brilliant Esposito is.

David Harbour, Stranger Things

Another member of the cast who should’ve won an Emmy by now. The kind of patience Hopper has with so many of the bizarre events that are happening in Hawkins, trying to protect his surrogate daughter Eleven (adolescence is going to be a bitch), and all the while to remain a real force for good is rare even in the golden age. Throw in the fact that Harbour himself is a genuine engaging personality (his work on SNL was one of the highlights of a shortened season) the fact that he’s won a couple of prizes from the Critics Group and the SAG awards, and the fact we know he gives a great speech makes me want to see him there.

Josh O’Connor, The Crown

Leaving aside that Tobias Menzies should really be in this category instead of Best Actor, there’s a pretty strong argument for this relative newcomer to be in the race against some established presence. Charles has become a real force in the third season of the crown, and watching his struggles with his family — his being forced to go to Wales to give a speech, and then being admonished by his mother by what he says, his complicated relationship with Camilla and his great-uncle, and the fact that everybody in his family sees him and problem — and possibly dangerous — has made me feel for Charles in a way I never have. And all that credit must be given to O’Connor, who bears an eerie resemblance to the young Charles on top of everything else. He’s a bit of a long shot, but I’d like to see him considered.

Mandy Patinkin, Homeland

Emmys Better Call Saul

How is it that Patinkin has never won for his work on Homeland? You could call Saul Berenson the role of a lifetime, except that Patinkin has had so many over the years its hard to think which one would be. But as the source of calm, level-headedness in the CIA, a man who has put the country before everything else, most often to his detriment, who is relied on by several Presidents, who has a measure of the long game that few real agency people seem to have, and who was the source of steadiness for Carrie for eight increasingly troubled seasons, he should have won at least once by now. I think the odds are against his prevailing — given everything that’s happened the past few years, Homeland doesn’t quite seem as relevant in its final season — but I really think he should get at least one last bite at the apple.

Adam Scott, Big Little Lies

This is my major longshot for the category. Scott has always been one of the great actors at playing a relative straight man to explosive woman which served him well in Parks & Rec and was a huge help in the first season as Madeline’s husband in Season 1.. But as he watched his wife breakdown and realize just how big some of the secrets she was keeping from him, his performance took on a new level as he realized just how much of a placeholder he was in her life, and it led him into angry, dark territory. Scott is never the flashier member of any cast, and its true here — he wasn’t as evil as Skarsgard or as despicable as Jeffrey Nordling, but for sure steady performance, he deserves a nomination.


Michael Emerson, Evil

Let’s be honest. You never trust a Michael Emerson character. You knew he was a killer on The Practice, lying was his superpower on Lost, and even when he was the good guy on Person of Interest, you knew there was a beast waiting behind those glasses. So in a sense, Leland, the archnemesis behind almost everything that’s going wrong for the characters, is the role he was born to play. He manipulates people subtly and quietly — except the protagonist, who he openly and joyously taunts. He never seems to be set back by anything, and we does it really gets him pissed. One wonders about the therapy he’s getting. There isn’t any scenery left in sight when Leland’s around. For some reason, I can’t even see a listing for him for this series. Clearly dark forces are at work — or maybe I’m just an instrument of them. Either way, give him a nomination.



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
David B Morris

After years of laboring for love in my blog on TV, I have decided to expand my horizons by blogging about my great love to a new and hopefully wider field.