For our latest edition of our Best of 2014 series, we’re going to talk actors. Specifically, we gave ourselves the challenge of trying to pick five nominees for the Drama Actor category. This was not easy. We could have added five more names, and we still would feel like we snubbed dozens of people.
The way to look at these is simple: It doesn’t matter how much screen time they had, or whether or not they were on network TV, cable, a long-running show, or a miniseries. All that matters is that these were the five performances that impacted us the most over the past year.
As with all of our other categories (which you can see below), you can vote for your favorites in the attached poll. We’ll have the results for each category two weeks after the nominations are up, which means here the results will be announced on December 19.
Hugh Dancy, “Hannibal” – Two years in, Dancy remains one of the most overlooked actors for awards-show consideration. He is so effective in paying a pained, haunted man with enough likability for you to get behind him, but enough darkness to make you question whether or not you are starting to lose your own sanity. He is such a tremendous, intelligent character, and the force Dancy brings to his every scene is incredible.
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” – After a third season that was a little light on the great Tyrion scenes at times, season 4 had it in spades for him in between Joffrey’s wedding, his capture, the trial, and of course that closing scene with Tywin Lannister. HBO got a real gift in getting him for this role; he may at times be a scoundrel, but Tyrion is the underdog. It’s hard to do anything other than root for him.
Woody Harrelson, “True Detective” – Matthew McConaughey will continue to get most of the praise, but the great thing about Woody is that he’s fine with that. He is the ultimate actor to share a scene with: He’s completely unselfish, but can go between understated and poignant in a split second. He was in many ways the deconstruction of the normal man on the HBO series, and that was juxtaposed brilliantly against McConaughey’s Rust Cohle, the man we may superficially impose as the darkness.
Melissa McBride, “The Walking Dead” – Look at the flowers … okay don’t. We know what Carol will do to you. 2014 was a breakout year for this character and for McBride on the AMC show, as she turned this woman into quite possibly the series’ most captivating and interesting character. She is deeply sympathetic, but at the same time awesome like an action hero. How many characters can you describe in such a way?
Katey Sagal, “Sons of Anarchy” – Everyone has been tremendous on “Sons of Anarchy’s” final season, but just in her closing moments in “Red Rose,” Sagal managed to pull out our heart, stomp on it, pick up the pieces, and then stomp on it again. She played a character who could be easily described as evil, but the truth is that Gemma is so much more complex than that. She was also one of those actors whose presence made everyone around her even better.
As mentioned, take a look at other nominees below. Also, sign up today to get some further TV updates on all we cover via our CarterMatt Newsletter.
1. Best Underrated Show (results coming December 15)
2. Most Disappointing Show (results coming December 16)
3. Best New Show (results coming December 17)
4. Breakout Star (results coming December 18)