2010 Emmy Award Predictions: Supporting Acting in a Drama Series

Supporting Acting in a Drama Series

August 23rd, 2010

The complete lack of a frontrunner in neither Supporting Actor nor Supporting Actress in a Drama Series isn’t particularly surprising: these categories are always fairly stacked, and so predicting them is always a bit of a crapshoot.

This year, though, the lack of a frontrunner should prove particularly interesting, and potentially quite frustrating for the majority of television viewers.

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

  • Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age)
  • Martin Short (Damages)
  • Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)
  • Terry O’Quinn (Lost)
  • Michael Emerson (Lost)
  • John Slattery (Mad Men)

On the Actor side of things, it’s a problem of too much talent: while many are right to complain about John Lithgow getting dropped down to (and winning) Guest Actor from Supporting on a technicality, I think this category is better for his absence, as it allows people like Aaron Paul (still looking for his first Emmy win for this spectacular work on Breaking Bad) to have a legitimate shot at the trophy instead of appearing as also-rans. However, when he’s alongside someone as respected as Martin Short, and when former winners Terry O’Quinn and Michael Emerson are riding the momentum of Lost coming to its conclusion, Paul still seems like a small fish in a big pond (Slattery, as good as he is, is simply not going to be the Mad Men actor to break the series’ drought in performance categories).

This leaves the sixth nominee, who I suspect likely was the sixth nominee who Lithgow would have replaced; ironically, he’s also the guy who I expect will walk away with an Emmy. Andre Braugher is an Emmy favourite, a winner for his work on Homicide: Life on the Street and then recognized for basically anything else they could nominate him for (including short-lived series like Gideon’s Crossing and miniseries like Thief, for which he won his second Emmy). Men of a Certain Age didn’t pull in a huge audience, but the show was really quite accomplished, and Braugher’s brave performance as Owen showed humility and self-awareness which shows (without “showing”) the maturity he’s always brought to his roles. There’s a real everyman quality to the performance, and I think that the Academy’s love for Braugher combined with the winning nature of the character (and his submitted episode, “Powerless”) will be enough to put him into the winner’s circle. I’d actually be quite pleased with a Braugher victory: as much as I love Paul’s work, and appreciate both O’Quinn and Emerson, Braugher was pretty darn good as well, and removed from the competition is deserving of an Emmy award.

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

  • Rose Byrne (Damages)
  • Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife)
  • Christine Baranski (The Good Wife)
  • Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)
  • Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)
  • Sharon Gless (Burn Notice)

However, things get a bit dicier on the Actress side, where an identical scenario seems to be forming: with Elisabeth Moss and Christina Hendricks potentially canceling one another out, Archie Panjabi delivering an Emmy-worthy performance unable to be captured in a single episode, and Rose Byrne apparently submitting terribly, the race could come down to two actresses who are here less for their work on this show and more for their work in the past. While Christine Baranski and Sharon Gless are great actresses, their characters on The Good Wife and Burn Notice are amongst the most underdeveloped in each series, and their victories would seem like an injustice considering the competition.

I think it comes down to Gless and Hendricks in a battle of generations: Gless, who is barely an entity on Burn Notice, is riding her years of success with Cagney & Lacey, while Hendricks is a young talent whose role on Mad Men is one of the series’ most iconic. In the past, this award has gone the way of Glesses, whether it was Blythe Danner in the little-seen Huff or Tyne Daley (Gless’s Cagney & Lacey co-star) for Judging Amy, so precedent is certainly in her favour. That said, I think that the voters are reaching the point where Mad Men’s lack of acting wins seems like an oversight, and with Jon Hamm in a heavily competitive category I think here is where you could see one of the two actresses break the streak. While I’d love to see Moss pick up the win, she had a relatively light year, and Hendricks’ scene with Jon Hamm in “Guy Walks Into an Advertising Agency” is just a haunting piece of work, so I think she’s the real threat here.

Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Predicted Winner: Andre Braugher (Men of a Certain Age)

Biggest Threat: Martin Short (Damages)

Personal Choice: Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad)

Supporting Actress in a Drama Series

Predicted Winner: Sharon Gless (Burn Notice)

Biggest Threat: Christina Hendricks (Mad Men)

Personal Choice: Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men)


Filed under Emmy Awards

2 responses to “2010 Emmy Award Predictions: Supporting Acting in a Drama Series

  1. Martin Short has little screen time and is not even as strong as Paul, O’Quinn and Emerson.

  2. Pingback: 2010 Emmy Award Predictions: Outstanding Drama & Comedy Series « Cultural Learnings

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