2011 Dream Emmy Ballot: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

It’s that time again, folks. The Emmy nominations will be announced on July 14, which means I have almost an entire month to flood this space with hopes, dreams and predictions about what could happen come nomination time. To kick things off, I’ll be bringing back the Dream Emmy Ballot. It’s something I did last year and even with my much smaller readership back then, folks seemed to enjoy it. You can find the archives of previous Dream Emmy Ballot posts here.

In any event, just a qualifier or two: This is obviously my Dream Emmy Ballot. Meaning, these initial picks are going to be who I would love to see be nominated for the awards. I know that many of these people don’t actually have a chance in garnering a nomination, just as I know that I will miss some of your personal favorites because I don’t watch that series. I watched more television than ever this season, so I imagine my personal picks will more closely align with more “official” selections, but nevertheless, this is all based on my personal taste and wishes. I’ll do more concrete, objective analysis as we get closer to the actual nomination announcement. Secondly, these picks are all based on the official nomination ballot, just so you know.

Here we are again folks and if you thought the previous two categories were a bloodbath, get ready to have your mind blown. The supporting categories are especially tough on the drama side and supporting drama actor is definitely the most competitive category of all the major ones. I kid you not, my shortlist for this category had nearly 30 names on it and if I could push this category to 8 or 10 nominees, I still wouldn’t be satisfied with who I left off. Lots of people are going to be disappointed come nomination time. I’ll do my best to make it work.

Michael Raymond-James, Terriers

Sigh. Even though there are literally 30 great candidates for nomination in this category, if you put a gun to my head and told me I had to pick just one actor to vote for, it would be Michael Raymond-James for his work on the much-adored, very-dead Terriers. While Donal Logue’s Hank Dollworth was busy consistently breaking our hearts throughout the series’ sole season, Raymond-James’ Britt was stuck getting his heart broken just the same. Raymond-James played Britt with an intriguing mix of youthful naivety and street smarts while establishing himself as the heart of a series with a whole lot of it. Honestly, this is a performance I never would have expected having seen Raymond-James’ work on True Blood. He wasn’t bad there (more stuck in a rote role), but he is so good here that it would be a massive shame not to acknowledge it – which of course, the Emmy voters will not do.

Walton Goggins, Justified

This figure is approximate, but I believe this is the 72nd faux nomination for Justified already. Walton Goggins was the best part of Justified’s first season and even though the quality level of the other performers and the series as a whole went up a few notches, Goggins remained as one of the most engaging and complex elements. Even with all the great new characters coming into the series, Goggins’ performance made sure to remind us that Justified is really a story about his Boyd and Timothy Olyphant’s Raylan. Boyd Crowder went from born-again good guy to a slightly shadier version to back to his quasi-antagonist role with like 23 stops in between and it’s a major testament to Goggins’ charisma and intricate work that the audience didn’t get impatient with the character’s ever-shifting motivations. Much like the next performer on this list, Goggins so obviously deserves this nomination, dating back to his work on The Shield.

John Noble, Fringe

Another year, another Dream Emmy nomination for John Noble. It’s become something of a sad joke on the internet that Noble hasn’t garnered any official attention for his multi-character role on Fringe and I imagine that the joke will continue its unfunny existence this season. Nevertheless, though his original character had slightly less to do in season three than in years past, Noble was able to bring to life multiple other versions of Walter Bishop, from Walternate to the two future versions of the present-day characters in the season three finale, “The Day We Died.” Bishop played nearly every beat an actor can be called upon to play in season three – comic relief, emotional center, super-villain, more complex villain, crazy person, crazy person comic relief on drugs, etc. – and nailed them all. It’s great that Fringe figured out how to write for Anna Torv and gave Joshua Jackson more to do in season three, but John Noble’s Walter is still the heart of series. He deserves this so much.

Michael B. Jordan, Friday Night Lights

When most of the original FNL high school students left the series by the end of season three, I was pretty convinced that I would never care as much about those individuals the producers found to replace Smash, Street, Tyra, Riggins, Saracen and (gulp) Lyla. By the end of the series’ fifth and final season, Michael B. Jordan’s Vince Howard had completely obliterated that mindset with a complex and memorable performance. Jordan certainly benefitted from having the most to do of the newbies, but he made the best of it in his scenes with Kyle Chandler and his on-screen father Cress Williams. Jordan’s Vince was traditionally heroic when the series needed him to be and exceptionally misguided and cancerous to his team when the series need that as well. He did it all and had a true arc. In two short seasons, Vince became the series’ most well-rounded and arguably gave Riggins a run for his money as the most-developed football player in the series’ run.

Michael Cudlitz, Southland

I continue to think that Southland is one of television’s best dramas and though too few people share that opinion with me, it seems like more folks are noticing Michael Cudlitz’s work on the series – and for good reason. The disjointed episode orders and season lengths have disrupted some character’s arcs on Southland, but not Cudlitz’s John Cooper. Cudlitz brings a quiet, bubbling intensity to a role that could be a lot showier in the wrong hands. He is the primary reason that the patrol cop stories are the most engaging and enjoyable on Southland. 

Dax Sheppard, Parenthood

Although I think we have reached a point where Dax Sheppard’s performance on Parenthood is no longer shocking, that doesn’t mean we should stop praising it. It seems obvious that Jason Katims and his writing staff trusted Sheppard with even meatier and complex plots in season two of the underrated NBC family drama and the actor continued to handle whatever was thrown at him. Even though his Crosby made the biggest mistake any character made throughout the season, Sheppard’s work kept him in a somewhat sympathetic, yet disappointing position. Even before Crosby ruined a lot of people’s months, Sheppard did a wonderful job of exploring the confusion and pressure his character was in with the possibility of a quick marriage to a woman he didn’t really know as well as he initially thought.

Notable actors left just off the list: Alan Cumming and Josh Charles, The Good Wife; Arliss Howard, Rubicon; Delroy Lindo, The Chicago Code; John Slattery, Mad Men, Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones; Michael Shannon and Michael Pitt, Boardwalk Empire; Brent Sexton, The Killing; Joshua Jackson, Fringe; Shawn Hatosy, Southland; Clarke Peters and Wendell Pierce, Treme; Ian Somerhalder, The Vampire Diaries

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One thought on “2011 Dream Emmy Ballot: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  1. Fringe: it is not so much that they know how to write for Anna Torv, but finally do write for Olivia Dunham. If they would have done that from the beginning, look where Anna could have been now.
    Season 1 and 2 she made the most of her storyline, while she was sacrified for the Walter/Peter storylines . They completely isolated her in season 2, when Charlie and her sister were written out. You could blame the male writers, since the best episodes for me and Olivia were the episodes written by the two women Schapker and Breen.
    From the beginning critics strangely enough did not recognise that Olivia is an introverted character, not showy in her emotions, but look at those beautiful subltle expressions and those eyes.

    I never liked Walter in season 1, to many mannerism of John Noble, and only started to like him from season 2, when he toned it down. In fact his best scenes are with Anna Torv.

    John Noble has the luck that he has as Walter a for many people easy to like character, he gets the best storylines, the best scenes, and the best one-liners, not fair to the others.I
    If John would have played a character like Walternate from the start, he would not have been in this position, certainly not because he did not make much of Walternate, from someone supposedly that good you would expect more.

    What did put me off John Noble a bit: last year at Comic Con he complained that Walternate could make him less popular, but luckily people liked Walter, and he could win the Emmy with some scenes he already had done as Walter. strange comment from an actor who gets all this praise.

    Compared to Anna Torv, who always had to hear that Olivia was so boring, so she must be to???, who was told by the writers that she had to keep on playing that boring Olivia despite that hateful media? Jeff Pinkner, who was only the showrunner in season 1, has now stated several times that he found it hard to watch, that Anna got those attacks, imagine how she felt.

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