By Michael Slezak
July 11, 2009 at 09:34 PM EDT

So we took Friday off from building our wish list of nominees in the major Emmy categories, but now it’s time to delve into the awards for Best Supporting Actor and Actress (Drama Division). Last year’s winners — Zeljko Ivanek for Damages and Dianne Wiest for In Treatment — were as surprising as they were satisfying, and hopefully Emmy will follow suit by recognizing more fresh performances in 2009. Here’s four folks I’m rooting for:

Elizabeth Mitchell, Lost: The once slightly menacing Juliet became season 5’s central romantic figure as she set up house with Sawyer and settled into a groove with the Dharma Initiative. Until, of course, Jack and Kate returned to mess up the dynamic. (Boo!) Is there any actress on television who can convey so much anguish and passion with a single glance? Answer: No! So give the woman her Emmy nod!

Michael Cudlitz, Southland: It’s remarkable the way Cudlitz convincingly brings to life Officer John Cooper’s on-the-job swagger one minute, then captures those scenes of his character trying to score prescription pain killers at a gay-bar dive. Toss in those enigmatic hints of the beat cop’s home life, and you’ve got a complex, fully realized character in just seven episodes. (BTW, while Emmy is at it, how about a simultaneous nomination for Cudlitz’s Southland colleague, Shawn Hatosy, whose beleaguered, sweet-natured detective is also a series standout.)

Tricia Helfer, Battlestar Galactica: Often overlooked in the discussion of the SciFi hottie‘s stunning good looks is the fact that she’s a damn fine actress. Sure, Katee Sackhoff’s scenery-chewing style gets more buzz, but I’d argue that Helfer’s subtler work, capturing the personality nuances of several versions of the Number Six Cylon model, is more worthy of Emmy recognition.

Jake Weber, Medium: Okay, yeah, I can’t write the guy’s name without using the word Emmy, but Weber’s steadfast, supportive spouse grounds the series, and his acting is every bit as impressive as Patricia Arquette’s work in the lead role. That episode where Weber’s Joe continues loving his wife while she’s trapped in the body of Jeffrey Tambor’s murder suspect belongs on Emmy’s must-watch reel. Anything short of that would be a paranormal mystery.

Okay, there’s my take, now it’s your turn. Who deserves an Emmy nod for Best Supporting Actor/Actress in a Drama? Speak now: Nominations are revealed on Thursday morning! And  remember, if your favorites don’t make the cut with the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, they still have a chance at an EWwy.

More on Emmys:
Who deserves an Emmy nod for Lead Actor/Actress in a Drama? (Not just the usual suspects!)
Who deserves an Emmy nod for Lead Actor/Actress in a Comedy? (Underdog picks encouraged!)
Who deserves an Emmy nod for Supporting Actor/Actress in a Comedy? (Other than Vanessa L. Williams, naturally)
Michael Ausiello’s Dream Emmy Ballot part 2: Best Supporting Actor and Actress (drama)

addCredit(“Mitchell: Mario Perez/ABC; Cudlitz: Justin Lubin/NBC; Helfer: Carole Segal/SyFy; Weber: Danny Feld/NBC”)