Best of 2014: Pedro Pascal, Robin Lord Taylor, Finn Wittrock among Breakout Star candidates

What does it mean to be a Breakout Star? It’s a complicated term with multiple definitions. Some may say it’s the star of a hugely successful show, or someone who just has that something special to stand out from the norm.

For our CarterMatt Awards, we’re once again defining this as someone who really broke through on our TV radar in the past year, and made a huge impression regardless of their overall screen time with their performance. This means that they could be in just one episode, or an entire season of something.

Last year, this award was taken by Tom Mison of “Sleepy Hollow” in a narrow victory over Megan Boone of “The Blacklist.” Take a look below at our choices this time around. Voting will remain open on this article until December 18, when the winner will be announced. (At the bottom of this article, you can see how to vote for the other categories that are currently open.) You can vote once per device!

Amy Gumenick, “Arrow” (The CW) – Like we said, sometimes doing a lot with a little is better than being around a full season. With her two-episode arc as Carrie Cutter a.k.a. Cupid, the “Supernatural” alum Gumenick created one of the most captivating and fun TV villains of the past few years, giving you a sense of what sort of “fans” a hero like the Arrow can attract. One of the best things to come out of her story was the ending, given that it leaves the door open for future appearances.

Pedro Pascal, “Game of Thrones” (HBO) – You could also basically include “The Mentalist” on here, as well, given that Pascal had a great run on two separate shows this year. His take on the Red Viper may be one of the best adaptations of any George R.R. Martin book character onto the small screen. He brought us one of the most-intriguing men in King’s Landing, and also one of the most shocking / horrific moments of the season following his duel with The Mountain.

Robin Lord Taylor, “Gotham” (Fox) – Maybe we just really love villains, given that we have two of them on here. But what made Robin Lord Taylor’s Penguin so glorious is that he somehow managed to tap into the ambition and insecurity of this comic character brilliantly, and without ever trying to be Danny DeVitto. That is not an easy act to follow, but he’s pulled it off and made Oswald arguably the Fox drama’s strongest character halfway through the season.

Finn Wittrock, “American Horror Story” – Look, it’s another villain! Seriously, though: Dandy is a horrible person. He’s entitled, stunted, quick to enrage, but somehow still desperate to be a part of something. He’s a murderer, a schemer, and yet someone we never want to turn away from. Wittrock has brought so much power to this character, and helped to fill the void left by a certain clown a few episodes into the season. Also, kudos to Wittrock for his performance in “The Normal Heart,” as well.

Jadyn Wong, “Scorpion” – Wong may play the most complex character on the CBS crime show, and we even love the irony of her name Happy, given the flurry of different emotions that often come out of her. The challenge with this show was finding a way to make each genius stand out from the next, but Wong conquers that almost effortlessly.

Love TV? Be sure to like Matt & Jess on Facebook for more updates!