Golden Globes 2018: Why James Spader, Sam Heughan, Donnie Wahlberg, Omari Hardwick, Aidan Turner deserve Drama Actor nod

The Blacklist logo any seasonWelcome to the 2018 Golden Globes CarterMatt preview series! With the popular awards show coming to NBC in January, what better time is there then now to start to look at possible nominees and favorites? This is the third straight year in which we’ve had our own dedicated preview series, and our goal here is to highlight the best of the best as voters within the Hollywood Foreign Press start to make their decisions.

On October 31, all official submissions were made to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and on November 24 ballots will begin going out for official nomination voting. The focus of this CarterMatt series is to help identify great shows and performers for the HFPA to consider. We’ll be sharing some of our personal picks in every TV-related category daily throughout the month of November at 1:00 p.m. Pacific time (4:00 p.m. Eastern), and from there, we’ll leave the voting to you to share some of your own favorites!

Voting Rules – Note that this is just for fun and for campaign purposes; you aren’t voting for the actual Golden Globes! Vote however often you want from now until November 30 at 12:00 p.m. Pacific time, when the polls close and will no longer be available. We will announce all of the poll winners at 1:00 p.m. Pacific on November 30, during the heart of campaign season, as a way to help get the word out on some shows and performers worthy of a nomination.

With all of that laid out, let’s get to the first order of business today: Discussing the CarterMatt picks for Actor in a Drama Series.

Omari Hardwick, Power (Starz) – Whether it be the trial arc or James “Ghost” St. Patrick’s struggle to rebuild his life later, season 4 was a powerhouse year for the continually-underrated Hardwick. You feel every move he makes as Ghost, and his charisma is off the charts. He makes this man into someone capable of living a double life; somehow, he makes it convincing even after both lives for St. Patrick start to fall apart. Watching him become a shell of his former self in the finale was one of the most painful experiences for his character and thanks to Omari, we were drawn into every moment.

Sam Heughan, Outlander (Starz) – Go watch the episodes “Of Lost Things” and “A. Malcolm” to get a full sense of the range that Heughan is capable of as Jamie Fraser. You witness some of his suffering, his ability to navigate difficult situations, how he can care for others, and also how morally conflicted he can be. Jamie is a survivor of many terrible things and in his performance, you see those experiences manifested in many ways. You can see Jamie’s suffering far beyond just the scars on his back; even when times are bad, you still know this is a man capable of great passion and optimism for the future. His “A. Malcolm” scenes with Caitriona Balfe were on another level. After years of snubs, hopefully this is the year Heughan gets his due.

James Spader, The Blacklist (NBC) – In some ways the idea of Spader as an underdog is ironic, given that we are discussing a man here who has received countless acclaim over the years for various shows in movies. Yet, anyone with a network series is at this point an underdog unless the series is This Is Us. As Raymond Reddington, Spader continues to play this part with the perfect combination of mustache-twirling magnetism and subtle vulnerability. The Mr. Kaplan arc was probably the darkest and strongest material for him to date, and it’s also been nice this fall to see Spader revert back to the season 1 Reddington, someone interested in having a laugh every now and then.

Aidan Turner, Poldark (PBS) – Ross Poldark as every bit as conflicted a hero as you are going to see on TV. This is a man who is capable of great love; yet, he’s also a man haunted by his past and burdened of great responsibility. Through Turner’s performance you are thrust directly into his world and you feel like you are a part of it. He plays the character as heroic yet relatable; he is a man with great ambition, but also great fear. For American viewers watching the show on PBS this fall, some of his finest moments this season are still to come as he wrestles with the man that he was and also the man that he now is. Few actors play moral dilemmas better.

Donnie Wahlberg, Blue Bloods (CBS) – Wahlberg has long excelled in the role of Danny Reagan on the long-running CBS series, but sometimes the best moments do in fact come out of great pain. In the premiere episode you saw that as Danny wrestled with his grief and struggled to figure out a way to push forward after the death of his wife Linda. He is a man now plagued with regret and trying to plug the massive hole in his heart that wasn’t there before. Wahlberg still brings some of the same charisma and determination-at-all-costs that was there with Danny previously, but there is a vulnerability there that wasn’t before this season. You see the character express more anger and sorrow and it makes for a compelling, engrossing, and heart-wrenching performance.

Photo: NBC

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