Traditionally the toughest categories to narrow down due to the sheer number of potential nominees, this year’s supporting actor and actress in a drama races were made easier for a couple of reasons: Big Love‘s big letdown of a season opened up a bunch of slots, as did the absence of In Treatment. Also, several standout performers (Lily Tomlin for Damages, Walton Goggins for Justified, John Lithgow for Dexter) decided to enter the guest race instead. Having said that, I was still faced with some agonizing dilemmas as I narrowed the field down to a top 12. Emmy voters, you know the drill. Copy and paste my picks when ballots arrive next week. And check back tomorrow for my lead actor/actress picks.
Best Supporting Actress (Drama)
Khandi Alexander (Treme): Her work as a bar owner in post-Katrina New Orleans only makes us ask again, “CSI: Miami…why?”
Lisa Edelstein (House): Cuddy’s special day-in-the-life episode was a banner day indeed. And don’t even get me started on her beautifully restrained performance in the finale. On second thought, get me started.
Christina Hendricks (Mad Men): Should be confident on Emmy night, having shown us the vulnerability behind Joan’s swagger. She can also wield a vase like nobody’s business.
Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife): As Julianna Margulies’ sexually ambiguous sidekick, she suggests that behind every great woman is, frankly, another one.
Mae Whitman (Parenthood): Half of the most down-to-earth mother-daughter team since…well, you know.
Deborah Ann Woll (True Blood): When her Jessica’s good, she’s great. When she’s bad, she’s brilliant.
Best Supporting Actor (Drama)
Nestor Carbonell (Lost): Arguably the high point of the final season was “Ab Aeterno” and Carbonell’s career-defining work in it.
Zach Gilford (Friday Night Lights): When Matt (spoiler alert!) lost his dad, his portrayer proved he was much more than just another pretty face.
John Noble (Fringe): Just when we thought his work as a mad scientist couldn’t get any better, the “Peter” episode aired.
Terry O’Quinn (Lost): His Man in Black/Smoke Monster was the first villain on the show to surpass creepy and get downright scary.
Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad): One word for you: “Fly.” If you don’t know what that means, how awful for you.
Martin Short (Damages): Short’s subtle work as the lawyer trying to protect the sins of his “father” was no laughing matter.
Agree/disagree with my picks? Consider the comments section below your own personal Dream Emmy Ballot.
Coming up tomorrow: Lead Actor and Actress (comedy) and Lead Actor and Actress (drama)