Outstanding Supporting Actor in A Comedy
All things considered, with the notable absence of Harrison Ford for Shrinking, this is the best category of nominees in comedy. It’s also without question the hardest one to pick a winner based on how close it is among the choices from Gold Derby. I’ll do the best I can.
Anthony Carrigan, Barry. Odds: 13–2. For Playing: Noho Hank, the former Chechnya gangster dealing with multiple desires that end up corrupting and destroying him. Pro: Carrigan has been the secret weapon of Barry over the course of four seasons. Starting out as a mostly comic foil in the early seasons, the trauma of the third season finale let him to try and deal with his war between his love and desire for safety — which led to him making a horrible choice at the first half. In the second half of the season, he genuinely seemed to have obtained the impossible but the residual trauma and his inability to let go let him into a climatic battle that led to the most tragic death in the entire run. Carrigan has too often been overlooked and he deserves to win. Con: It has always been Carrigan’s misfortune to be in the category with so many of his equally talented co-stars. As we shall see below, one of them gave just as brilliant a performance. Just as with so many characters on Barry, fate will likely be unkind.
Phil Dunster, Ted Lasso. Odds: 13–2. For Playing: Jamie Tartt, the footballer who returns to his home team — and finds himself dealing with his most interior struggle yet. Pro: It is strange that in the three seasons of Ted Lasso, Dunster is the only regular who hasn’t been nominated before. To be sure, it is a very deep supporting cast and he is frequently overshadowed by brighter suns (see below for the biggest example). But even those who did not truly like the final season could not help but cheer Dunster’s work as he came to some big realization about the kind of person he’d always been, not only in terms of his sexuality but his friendships and relationships. Jamie in many ways has come the furthest of the characters we’ve met since the journey started and it did us good to seem win. Con: Season Three was not highly regarded and Dunster faces tough competition (once again, see below.)
Brett Goldstein, Ted Lasso. Odds: 11–2. For Playing: Roy, the coach working through his relationships professionally and personally as things been change. Pro: Let’s not kid ourselves about who the breakout sensation of Ted Lasso has been it has been Goldstein who every time he swears onscreen (or you know, whenever he’s accepting an award and is bleeped out) has become one of the most beloved curmudgeons on TV in a very long time. It would be very hard to call Roy lovable (he’d snarl at you if you tried) but the world has fallen in love with a character who has truly become iconic in a way even more than Ted Lasso himself has. As he made his final journey in football, friendship and love (maybe) we felt sad saying goodbye to Roy. (Though considering that he’s now a co-creator of Shrinking, the Emmys haven’t nearly said goodbye to Goldstein.) Con: I think even Goldstein was shocked when he took his second straight Emmy last year and that was for a season of Ted Lasso that was far more highly regarded than this one was. I have a feeling that Roy won’t enjoy a three-peat.
James Marsden, Jury Duty. Odds: 6–1. For Playing: James Marsden, who is irritated his celebrity can’t get him out of jury duty and makes a mess for everybody. Pro: What does it say about Marsden that in a season where he returned to two iconic roles on the final season of Westworld and his dual role on Dead to Me that his best work this season would be for playing…himself? To be sure he is no more playing James Marsden than John Malkovich was in Being John Malkovich, but just as in that film that is a large part of the magic. Marsden spends all of the series playing such a temperamental, monstrous, ridiculous buffoon that you almost believe that’s really who Marsden is! It must have been difficult for him to accept this offer, but it would have been harder to turn it down. His work was some of the most fun of the year and I understand why this is the role the Emmys nominated him for. Con: The Emmys has never been able to give recognition to these kinds of parodies of roles (Larry David has never been able to win for Curb Your Enthusiasm) and this entire show is a harder reach than that. Still wouldn’t it be fun.
Ebon Moss-Bachrach, The Bear. Odds. 11–2. For Playing: Cousin Richie, the screwup who can’t adapt to anything Carmie does. Pro: Moss-Bachrach spends most of the first season of The Bear making you absolutely hate him. He berates and mocks every single person in the shop, treats everybody horribly, and is absolutely resistant to any kind of change or improvement. But throughout it you can see just how badly the death of Richie has hurt him, and he wears his pain far less well than Carmie does. In the finale of the season he completely collapses in a horrible way and reveals to Carmie how badly he’s broken too — and slowly finds a way for all of them to move forward. Moss-Bachrach was one of the breakout performers of 2022, and I understand very well why he’s one of the favorites in this category. The fact that he also had a small but critical role on the first season of Andor shows his versatility. Con: Considering how much attention was deservedly shown on White and his other co-stars, it may be difficult for him to triumph this year.
Tyler James Williams, Abbott Elementary. Odds: 6–1. For Playing: Gregory, settling in as a teacher and trying to deal with his crush on Janine. Pro: Williams has already won the Golden Globe and the Image award for his performance in Season Two and honestly, he more than deserves to win this year. Williams is, in many ways, the secret weapon of Abbott Elementary, sometimes by what he says, just as often by what he doesn’t say but we read on his face. Not since Jon Krasinski’s days on The Office has a man been able to express so much by saying absolutely nothing. And we have been rooting for Gregory and Janine as they do everything in their power to move one step forward, two steps back, trying to make it work and screwing it up for everyone else. Williams is one of the great pleasures of one of the most incredible shows on television and he is my favorite in this category. Against: A lot of great shows have premiered while Season 2 was airing. And while Williams is clearly more qualified than some, it’s hard to argue his early wins count for as much anymore.
Henry Winkler, Barry. Odds: 7–1. For Playing: Gene Cousineau, trying to deal with the horrors of Barry’s arrest — badly as always. Pro: In what was a very dark season, Winkler provided most of the comic highpoints of Season 4 as Gene’s desire to promote himself got in the way of his desire for justice. His attempt in the second half of the season to redeem himself came undone due to that fact — and then in a way no one could have foreseen, he became the scapegoat for everything that had happened to him. His final moment in the series was incredibly painful — even more so when we saw what his legacy was in the aftermath. It was the capper in what has been four years of incredible work. Con: Winkler has received, if anything, more love from the awards show circuit than Hader did: he took Supporting Actor prizes from the HCA and the Critics’ Choice last year. I wouldn’t object if he won a final Emmy — no one would really — but I think it’s a long shot.
My Pick: This is the toughest category to handicap with no bad performances in it. I’m giving the barest of edges to Williams.
Tomorrow, I wrap up the week with Supporting Actress in a Comedy as well as my preferences for the Writing, Directing and Guest Performances.