CarterMatt Awards 2015: David Tennant, Sam Heughan, James Spader compete for Top Actor

CM -We’ve spent the past few days in our CarterMatt Awards article series tributing some of the unheralded stars in the world of our favorite medium, and that has been a particularly fun collection to work on. Now, we’re moving into a little more of a traditional Top Actor category, which is something that we have done on the site for several years now.

There’s no real criteria for how these particular people were chosen. They can be from comedies, dramas, or miniseries. They can also be leading or supporting roles. Our six favorites were chosen by the team, and from here, we’re handing the voting off to you. The results of this category will be announced on December 27 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time; if you want to see more about other categories and the schedule for results, head over here.

Past winners – We previously separated the awards be genre rather than gender, but in the Drama Actor award, past winners include Hugh Dancy (2014), Maggie Siff (2013), and Jennifer Carpenter (2012).

Sam Hueghan, “Outlander” (Starz) – One of the biggest snubs of the Golden Globes, and really one of the biggest snubs of awards season in general. If you look anywhere within the first season of the show, you can see the footprints of Sam’s work even when he is not even onscreen. You sense the emotional impact he has on Claire, and the fire within the eyes of Black Jack Randall. When he is on screen, the work is simply brilliant. There is no finer example than the final two episodes of the season, when everything is laid on the line.

Lee Pace, “Halt and Catch Fire” (AMC) – “Halt and Catch Fire” is an Emmy-caliber show unfortunately buried within the summer, a place often forgotten by major awards shows. Its timing is weird for Emmy eligibility, and by the time the Globes come about, it is forgotten about. Pace’s performance contains consistent notes of brilliance, but there is also passion, manic energy, and at times deviousness in Joe MacMillan. He’s not necessary someone you want to work with, but he is someone you want to watch. Pace captures the spectrum start to finish.

Jesse Plemons, “Fargo” (FX) – Plemons has been doing tremendous work for quite some time, whether you are talking about “Breaking Bad” or everything he contributed to “Friday Night Lights.” Yet, we feel like playing Ed Blumquist is his breakout role. He’s earning countless attention for his dedication to the part physically and emotionally, and somehow, he has managed to match the high standard set by Billy Bob Thornton and Martin Freeman in the first season.

James Spader, “The Blacklist” (NBC) – Spader is unfortunately the victim of timing this awards season. When “The Blacklist” was in its first season, the show was getting attention from almost every direction. Unfortunately as you start to get further into your run, more and more voters start to take advantage of what you bring to the table. It’s sad that Spader is not getting more love for the third season so far, since this unquestionably in our mind the best material and work that we’ve seen for him as Raymond Reddington.

David Tennant, “Jessica Jones” (Netflix) – Playing a villain is not always the easiest task. You have to put yourself in that position, leave some of your own moral philosophy at the door, and commit yourself to someone who you cannot always relate to. Kilgrave may have had his reasons for doing some of what he did, but they were so far out of the realm of what is normal that is almost insurmountable to play. Tennant still found a way to tap into this character’s consciousness, and brought us one of the most terrifying portrayals of an adversary throughout all of 2015.

Justin Theroux, “The Leftovers” (HBO) – While Theroux may have been fantastic throughout all of season 2, look no further than “International Assassin,” the eighth episode of season 2, for one of the best acting master-classes of the entire year. In a show that makes an effort to not give you answers, Theroux’s performance was still so captivating that it made you not care to ask questions. You were thoroughly invested in his journey, and whether or not he could navigate the series’ complicated take on reality.

Now, we leave it to you and the poll below. You can also head over here in the event you want to get some further TV news on all we cover, sent right over to you via our CarterMatt Newsletter.


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