Okay, the Emmy nominations are out, and they’re fine. Really amazingly talented people got nominated in all sorts of categories. All fair enough! But I want to put forward some acting nominations that notice those really amazing actors in some of the best shows who, almost certainly because they are (to whatever degree) unknown outside of that show, simply don’t get nominated.

Note: If you wish to comment on these concepts, please do so without “spoiling” any show’s plots.


Look, Cranston, Gunn, Esposito and Paul all deserve their noms. Perhaps. But, really, the texture that holds Breaking Bad together for me, and the characters most interestingly defined these days, are the following:

JONATHAN BANKS for Best Supporting Actor.

As Mike Ehrmantraut, Jonathan Banks is just freaking incredible. He can do anything. He’s as cool as Clint Eastwood has ever been, he’s full of mystery, and he’s got so much damn charisma it’s ludicrous. Where has he been all our lives? Well, his 133 acting credits on IMDB are almost entirely composed of guest roles on ongoing television drama series, stretching back to The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie (who the hell would he have played on that?) and Lou Grant. Mike is my favourite character on Breaking Bad, and it’s not just because of how cool he is – it’s how Banks plays him. Banks deserves an Emmy Nomination.





DEAN NORRIS for Best Supporting Actor.

As Hank Schrader, the tempestuous, tough, and (in season four) extremely frustrated wounded DEA agent, Norris is phenomenal – it’s like he was born to play this part. Perhaps he was – he’s played an awful lot of cops. His 140 IMDB acting credits are full, like Banks’, of guest roles on US drama series, and the amount of cops (and, of course, “coaches” (!) is off the scale). Unlikely to ever be asked to “play The Dane” (Hamlet), Norris is perfect as Hank, including having to play much of Season Four sitting immobile on a bed. One thing’s for certain – Norris deserves an Emmy Nomination.






BOB ODENKIRK for Best Supporting Actor.

As Saul Goodman, the lawyer we all really need but certainly don’t know that we want, Odenkirk has, yard for yard, the funniest part on this (mainly) non-comedic show and makes a meal of every moment. He’s really funny, and deeply sleazy. “You better call Saul!” has become iconic, thanks to that voice. Odenkirk hit the ground running, bringing a full-flown character to the series in his very first scene in Season Two, and has never looked back. Odenkirk is brilliant – and deserves an Emmy Nomination.







Yes, Peter Dinklage as Tyrion Lannister is about the most perfect casting since Ian McShane as Al Swearengen in Deadwood. But Game of Thrones has some amazing casting genius beyond Dinklage.

CONLETH HILL for Best Supporting Actor.

As Lord Varys, the Eunuch advisor to the Small Council and “Master of Whisperers”, Hill, who is (somewhat surprisingly) only 46 and only has 27 acting credits on IMDB, is absolutely believable: a strange, purring beast who’s a little Frank Thring, a little C3PO, and more than a little Kenneth Halliwell. Lurking in the shadows but a massive part of the fabric of Game of Thrones, Hill deserves an Emmy Nomination.





CHARLES DANCE for Best Supporting Actor.

As Tywin Lannister, the no-nonsense, take-no-prisoners, all-powerful über-Father of the otherwise completely nutso Lannister family, Dance, who was born with eyes that said “I could kill you right now, and would like to”, has finally found his perfect role – and medium. Unlike Jeremy Irons, who has a similar vibe but can actually attract our sympathy, Dance’s unique physiognomy has condemned him to a career of bitter villains, cuckolds, jerks and Upper-Class twits, in a career spanning many, many movies (most of them forgettable) and, of course, The Jewel in the Crown, a massively successful mini-series in which he played Guy Perron. His return to television on Game of Thrones is the best decision of his career. He is unbelievably powerful as this super-Patriarch – and deserves an Emmy Nomination.





SOPHIE TURNER for Best Supporting Actress. (Warning: Season One Conclusion Spoiler)

As Sansa Stark, Ned Stark’s stunning, red-headed elder daughter, Sophie Turner is put through the wringer: accidentally causing her father’s death, watching him slaughtered in front of her, married to a disgusting, sadistic creep who likes to beat her up, and psychologically interfered with by her deranged, perverse mother-in-law, Sansa is like a medieval version of a tragic Russian heroine. It’s a role that may have been runined in lesser hands, but five-foot nine-inch Sophie, all of sixteen years old, with no other acting credits, is pitch-perfect in every single one of her many scenes, maintaining a beautifully hidden strength in underneath vulnerability and fragility. Sophie Turner really deserves an Emmy Nomination.







JOHN SLATTERY for Best Supporting Actor.

It’s bonkers, absolutely bonkers, that John Slattrery’s performance as Roger Sterling has never received an Emmy Nomination. By far the funniest person on the show, he also is engaging, truthful and constantly surprising. Is Sterling a drunk or just a drinker? A Casanova or just a philanderer? An honest man or a total ass? The genius of Slattery’s portrayal is that he maintains this mystery even as he maintains total control of his mercurial character. I would like to write for Sterling more than almost any other character, and there’s no doubt that Slattery deserves an Emmy Nomination.






VINCENT KARTHEISER for Best Supporting Actor. (Warning: Vague Series-Arc Spoiler)


Vincent Kartheiser owns the role of Pete Campbell, the young, seemingly-naive executive who goes from hero-worshipping Don Draper to, in a sense, becoming him. His growth from nebbish to power-broker is beautifully calibrated. Campbell over-thinks things (a bit of the Hamlet is in him); he’s worried by everything, but then, strangely and intriguingly, sometimes lets his instincts take over – and the next thing you know he’s landed a huge client or bedded a neighbour. It’s a complex, unshowy role, and Kartheiser has never mis-played it. Indeed, of all the actors on MAD MEN, Kartheiser is, to me, the one who most seems to actually have stepped out of the 1960s – I simply can’t imagine Kartheiser as a real person, as an actor – I can only imagine him as Pete Campbell, so completely does he inhabit that character. For these reasons, Vincent Kartheiser deserves an Emmy Nomination!

Your comments are welcome: who else deserves an Emmy Nomination?


  1. Has Elisabeth Moss received one? She’s very good as the dowdy, portly Peggy when in real life she is thin and beautiful. No doubt she’ll get one for Jane Campion’s “The Other Side of the Lake” in which word is she is brilliant.

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