2009 Emmy Award Predictions: Supporting Actor in a Drama Series


Supporting Actor in a Drama Series


In the Comedy supporting categories, I actually feel as if there’s some trends that you can follow, shows that are dominating the main nominations and therefore are clearly catching voters’ attention. However, I just don’t see that on the drama side: there are people here who are going to get nominated entirely independent of their series, and some who have other variables that will place them in contention. With last year’s winner Zjelko Ivanek out of the running (feel free to watch his Emmy-winning performance to find out why), this leaves a wide open category for some familiar faces.

Michael Emerson and William Shatner are likely to be repeat nominees, as even with Boston Legal’s cancellation voters are likely to gravitate towards Shatner and Emerson has taken the mantle for Lost when it comes to the Emmys, especially with Terry O’Quinn choosing not to submit himself into the category. In terms of the other nominees from last year, though, John Slattery and Ted Danson are not going to be returning, the former due to a lack of material and the latter due to being bumped to recurring guest star on Damages. This means there’s a lot of room, and a lot of options.

Lost has to be considered in the running with two of its co-stars. Josh Holloway has never really been taken seriously by the Emmys, but Sawyer came into his own this season in a leadership role and Holloway nailed the drama therein and deserves attention. However, if there’s going to be a second castaway on the ballot, my money (illogically and against all expectations) has to be on Jeremy Davies, whose performance in episodes like “The Variable” but also throughout the season was consistently strong as he crafted a memorable and complicated character in Daniel Faraday – whether the Emmys notice or not will depend on where Lost sits on their popular radar.

William Hurt, meanwhile, looks to capitalize on Damages’ two nominations in the category last season with a nod here. As an oscar winner slumming it on television, he’s bound to get some attention, but I think people are overestimating Damages’ awards potential this year (let’s remember that Rose Byrne did get snubbed last year in a bit of a surprise), and I just think Hurt’s role was so slight and without nuance that there’s no justification for a nomination beyond his name. Or, more realistically, I thought his role was stupid and pointless, and will blindly ignore his guaranteed nomination in order to make myself feel better.

More likely to break into the category is John Mahoney, who has two things in his favour. The first is that the former-Frasier co-star never won an Emmy for that role, having been beaten out by David Hyde Pierce on a regular basis. The second is that his role on In Treatment has gained a lot of buzz, and with three acting nominations last year it’s clear that the show will be on Emmy’s radar.

The long shots, meanwhile, are a couple of young(er) actors who are sitting in wait. John Slattery is fine in Mad Men, but its real supporting star is Vincent Kartheiser, who expertly turns Pete Campbell into a heartless bastard when required, but always with this tinge of sadness as if the facade he puts up has begun to tear away his soul. Mad Men could dominate the nominations this year, and he could emerge as a contender, but he has another show’s dark horse to contend with. Patrick Dempsey might be submitting in Supporting this year with a lot of strong material, but it’s Justin Chambers who surprised people, continuing to do really strong work with Katherine Heigl and demonstrating the depth of that show’s cast.

Predictions for Supporting Actor in a Drama

  • Justin Chambers (“Grey’s Anatomy”)
  • Jeremy Davies (“Lost”)
  • Michael Emerson (“Lost”)
  • Vincent Kartheiser (“Mad Men”)
  • John Mahoney (“In Treatment”)
  • William Shatner (“Boston Legal”)


Filed under Emmy Awards

7 responses to “2009 Emmy Award Predictions: Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  1. I like reading your predictions. I can’t wait to see what you have to say about Leading Actress.

  2. Really like your site and predictions, but this time you definately went on a limb. I mean…Davies? Chambers? I think Slattery is strong enough to make in, especially with popular vote, and he has a strong tape (Six Months Leave). I think John Noble is also in contention or maybe Christian Clemenson or Aaron Paul, but we’ll see.

    • This is definitely the most “out there” of my categories, a symptom of it being the last one I did and being frustrated with the monotony.

      Davies is definitely a flight of fancy, but I don’t think Chambers is – Grey’s power in a popular vote is yet to be seen, and he could benefit from being heavily featured in Heigl’s tapes.

      As for Noble/Clemenson/Paul, Boston Legal folks are out other than Shatner/Bergen (And I dumped the latter, even), Noble’s show is too sci-fi for Emmy, and Aaron Paul will need another season to build a reputation before he breaks in.

  3. Sean

    No love for Aaron Paul on Breaking Bad? I think he easily deserves the win, and with the attention the show will be getting due to Cranston (who won last year and was even better this year), I don’t see how the Emmys could ignore him.

    • See above, but yeah – I’m behind on Breaking Bad, but everyone’s raving about Paul being a real standout. I just think that Emmy voters would legitimately need to rewind to the credits to remember his name to be able to vote for him, and that doesn’t often result in a nomination in a very competitive field.

      But, if it does, no complaints here.

  4. Good for Terry O’Quinn. I think he deserved a nomination, but not at the expense of Michael Emerson. I don’t think Josh Holloway will be nominated or win. Sawyer is great, but Josh Holloway isn’t the best. Jeremy Davies would be great, his acting is superb, but I don’t think he’ll get a lot of votes compared to some of the better known names.
    “I just think Hurt’s role was so slight and without nuance that there’s no justification for a nomination beyond his name. Or, more realistically, I thought his role was stupid and pointless, and will blindly ignore his guaranteed nomination in order to make myself feel better.”
    Hilarious, I feel the exact same way. That was the worst character on that show. I still loved that season, but his character was insanely boring.
    I would like to think that Boston Legal would get nominations because it was their last season and they’ve got a lot of Emmy love in the past, but I doubt it. I think it’s been to long, I’m pretty sure every one has forgotten about the show (I haven’t I just bought some more of the DVDs and I’m still loving it.)

  5. kavalier

    I’m kind of astonished not to see any love for Walton Goggins. The final five or six episodes of The Shield are his masterwork; the empathy he generates despite the despicable things he has done in previous seasons is nothing short of astounding. While it is unlikely Michele Hicks will get a well-deserved nomination for her portrayal of Mara, the depth both these actors brought to their (spoiler alert) ultimately doomed relationship should be acknowledged somehow. Check back to the episode where Mara played hide and seek with their son while Shane played the piano – outstanding at first viewing, heart-breaking when viewed in retrospect.

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