• Jim Carter, “Downton Abbey” (Episode 2)
• Brendan Coyle, “Downton Abbey” (Episode 7: Christmas Episode)
• Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (Blackwater)
• Giancarlo Esposito, “Breaking Bad” (Hermanos)
• Jared Harris, “Mad Men” (Commissions and Fees)
• Aaron Paul, “Breaking Bad” (End Times)
I’m actually surprised how strong Jim Carter‘s tape is. He has tons of screentime, and he has a story running throughout the episode. He was showy as one can get for a supporting role, and having two tapes certainly increases his chance. However, the main problem I have with both Downton actors is that when you compare their episodes alongside the four nominated actors, it lacked the certain emotional gravitas that will make you rank them on top of your ballot. That’s what Carter needs to overcome in terms of his Emmy chances. If Carter is the showier Downton actor, co-star Brendan Coyle relies on poignant, quiet moments in his episode. One can argue that despite not having a huge amount of screentime, all hisc scenes with Joanne Froggatt in his episode really stands out on its own. However, not even an additional episode care of co-nominee Carter can increase his chances of passing all the other men to receive the Emmy next month. He’s a perfect example of getting nominated is the reward already. Current title holder Peter Dinklage submits Blackwater where in he has that inspirational speech in the middle of the action-packed episode. This is an improvement over his supposed previous submission; however is this enough for him to retain the title? I don’t think so. First, he submitted the most buzzed episode of the season again, and I don’t blame him for that after Baelor did give him his much deserved Emmy last year. But for some reason, Blackwater wasn’t received by the Emmys the same way Baelor did. Plus, this category is stronger this year than last year, so voters might spread the wealth. Giancarlo Esposito plays the best villain on TV right now, and it’s good that he gets nominated this season. He also benefits from the fact that the last few minutes of his submitted episode really leaves an impact to the watchers. Paul’s tape does not give him that much of a showcase, though it is safe to say that his presence was felt in the other episode as well. If fans of the show want to spread the wealth, they might opt to go with Esposito as their personal choice for the win this year. I also think he is the most buzzed nominee in this category which also helps his chances. Perennial nominee John Slattery skipped a nod this year, and the Mad Men actor who replaced him is none other than Jared Harris. His tape revolves around a life changing situation that ends with a very baity scene. He portrayed depression intricately and his submitted episode ends with a resolution. Harris has been a consistent player in Mad Men for years, and if Mad Men finally gets an acting win at the Emmys, I won’t be surprised if Harris is the one where they’ll reward with the trophy. 2010 winner Aaron Paul comes back after a season of ineligibility, and his chosen episode is very competitive to say the least. The difference between his and co-star Esposito’s tapes is that while Esposito’s tape leaves you with an impact after seeing it, Paul’s acting is the one responsible for the impact that his submission gives you. His moment in the middle of the episode with Cranston is every inch intense, riveting, and on spot great acting. However, if voters are not fan of in your face acting style, I can see them resorting to other nominees. However, between him and Dinklage, he’s the likelier to repeat a win.
It is noteworthy to see that there have been no repeat winners in this category for sixteen years now, and while that seems more of a coincidence than a trend, it is difficult to dismiss it as such. With that said, I’m leaning to an Esposito vs Harris among the newbies with Paul as a likely spoiler to siphon votes between the two. This is a nailbiter until the envelope will be opened come Emmy night.
Prediction: Jared Harris, “Mad Men”
Dark Horse: Giancarlo Esposito, “Breaking Bad”