Today, we’re kicking things off with day 2 in our ongoing Golden Globes Preview Series, where we spotlight a category every day to go along with what our nominations would be if we were in control of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Before we dive in, we do want to give them some credit: They do a better job at their nominations than almost any other awards-show selection organization out there. We do get a genuine sense that they look at all shows, new and established, and find a way to honor the industry’s best.
This brings us to one of the toughest categories of this entire TV awards season (at least in our mind). There are going to be many newcomers this year, and they will be competing with both some relative newbies from last year and a few established performers. While we do think that the Globes have a couple of favorites, the HFPA can be rather unpredictable! It’s hard to know what they are going to do until they do it.
In addition to our personal picks below, we’ve also got a poll for you to vote for your own favorite! As we explained yesterday in the Drama Series category, voting is open between now and November 30 at noon Pacific time — you can vote however many times as you wish. The reader picks for all categories will be named on December 1.
For those wondering, the real Golden Globe nominations will be announced on December 12, with the ceremony airing on NBC January 8.
Actor in a Drama Series
Jamie Dornan, “The Fall” (Netflix) – The power from Dornan’s performance this season came via just how dissociative it was. He was at one point a man in recovery with little apparent knowledge of who he was or what he’d done; yet, at other moments there was the essence of the monster within. Paul Spector remains one of the most terrifying characters in recent memory, and the end of his story in season 3 — which we won’t give away here for those who haven’t seen it — was one final terrifying blow to Gillian Anderson’s Stella Gibson. This series is the finest dramatic work of Dornan’s career.
Sam Heughan, “Outlander” (Starz) – Through season 2 we saw much of the same ambition, spark, emotion, and torment from Heughan’s Jamie Fraser that was there in season 1. Yet, there was also something more — you saw a man who was getting more used to his unusual place in the world, and slowly accepting more of a leadership role while still confronting the various burdens that came with it. Few actors get a chance to conquer such a range of different experiences over the course of a season, and Sam did that with both power and grace.
Andrew Lincoln, “The Walking Dead” (AMC) – The premiere episode of season 7 entitled “The Day Will Come When You Won’t Be” was a tour de force for Lincoln, who within this hour went from becoming perennially underrated to a true contender to win a Globe this year. He played as a man going beyond his breaking point, staring into the despair and the pain on the other side as he watched his family tortured and murdered. We cannot imagine the preparation that went into this performance and how much pain he showed us just with his eyes, but it was extraordinary and a perfect reminder that despite all of the effects and the zombie-gore, this is a show about people. Lincoln’s one of the best.
James Spader, “The Blacklist” (NBC) – So often with some of these nominees there are singular episodes that make them especially deserving of a nod. For Lincoln, it’s the most-recent premiere; meanwhile, if you look at an honorable mention in Lee Place, it’s “NIM.” Here, Spader delivered a stunning, haunting performance in the season 3 episode “Cape May” working almost without any familiar cast member — his only scene partner through most of the episode was special guest Lotte Verbeek. Spader’s got a challenge having to play Raymond Reddington for over 20 episodes a year, but he always brings new dimensions to us and draws us in, despite our understanding that this is a man capable of terrible things.
Aidan Turner, “Poldark” (PBS) – The beauty of Turner’s Ross Poldark is that he is a character who, one way or another, constantly wants to win you back. He makes plenty of mistakes and is inherently flawed, but at the same time that is what makes him so compelling. He’s an atypical hero, where his desire to actually be that hero sometimes supersedes what is logical or right. Turner plays this part so wonderfully that you want to root for him through every minute of every episode, and it hurts all the more when Ross slips up. He brings you into that world and makes you experience those emotions.
Honorable Mentions – Rami Malek, “Mr. Robot” (USA), Sir Anthony Hopkins, “Westworld” (HBO), Lee Pace, “Halt and Catch Fire” (AMC), Robert Taylor, “Longmire” (Netflix), Anson Mount, “Hell on Wheels” (AMC), Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us” (NBC)
Now, we turn this over to you to share your favorite below! Meanwhile, click here to view other editions in our Golden Globe article series — we’ll be back tomorrow for Actress in a Drama Series. (Photo: Golden Globes.)