Who qualifies as a Breakout Star in today’s category of the CarterMatt Awards? Our definition is this: These are TV conversation-starters. Maybe going into this year you saw someone in an episode or two of something, but in 2017 they rose to the forefront with memorable roles. They don’t necessarily have to be series leads — instead, they’re just performers we expect to see a whole lot more of in the future after having a very good year.
One of the reasons that this category is so exciting is that the nominees are always going to be new. Alex Høgh Andersen of Vikings was the recipient last year; now that he’s broken out, he can’t be nominated for the award again.
Below, you can see all of our nominees for 2017, which are of course compiled compiled by the CarterMatt staff. There’s a poll at the bottom of the article for voting!
(Note: If you are on mobile and cannot see the poll, scroll to the bottom of the article and click to view the non-AMP version.)
Voting for this category is going to remain open from now until Friday, December 29 at 4:00 p.m. Eastern time (1:00 pm. Pacific), when the results will be posted in a separate article. To see more categories / results and view official voting rules, check out our CarterMatt Awards landing page.
Now, without further ado, let’s get to the nominations.
Iain Armitage, Young Sheldon (CBS) and Big Little Lies (HBO) – It’s hard to find any actor who has had a better 2017 in television, let alone one who did so before the age of ten. You can argue that his first breakout role was his excellent take on Ziggy in the HBO limited series, but to follow that up with starring on your own CBS comedy series is the icing on the cake. Armitage, (also a lover of theater) is poised for a very long and happy career.
Alexander Calvert, Supernatural (The CW) – When you’re coming onto a show that has been around as long as Supernatural has there is a challenge that comes along with it. You need to find a way to win people over, especially when they’ve been conditioned to love the show being a certain way. Luckily, Calvert has proven to be a more than fun addition to the show as Jack, giving Sam and Dean new dimensions to their characters while also being a source of comedy and providing some interesting moral dilemmas. We do think that Jack wants to do the right thing and be a good person, but there are a wide array of issues holding him back.
Ellise Chappell, Poldark (PBS) – There were many great new additions to the British import this year, but few shined more than Chappell as Morwenna. She took on some of the show’s most heartbreaking material with power and grace, providing a window into this young woman’s struggle. She has already endured so much hardship and pain, but at the same time perfectly demonstrated several times over how she is strong beyond her years. Now, we just desperately have to hope that Morwenna finds a way to escape Whitworth in season 4.
Beulah Koale, Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) – Whether it be on the big screen or on TV, 2017 has been a great one for Koale. What we love about his character of Junior Reigns is that he’s playing such a good-natured guy who defies many of the typical cop conventions. He’s not someone struggling with ethical decisions, and nor is he someone disrespectful to those around him. He has his struggles and some heartbreak from his past, but Koale plays Junior as an eager, ambitious guy looking to do the right thing.
Isabel Lucas, MacGyver (CBS) – Meanwhile, Lucas has added her own brand of energy to another Friday-night CBS show. She’s brought a touch of humor to MacGyver at times and even more of the show’s signature action, as well. She’s a great performer in the ensemble and in her case, we like that Samantha Cage is rough around the edges. She’s already had a chance to be undercover, and we imagine that even more great stuff is going to come her way as the season progresses.
Pearl Mackie, Doctor Who (BBC America) – Probably the saddest thing about the departure of Steven Moffat is that the entire Doctor Who world as we knew it is going with him — and that includes Mackie, who was exemplary as a refreshing, fun new character in Bill Potts. She was inspirational, hilarious, exciting, and brought a charm to the series that we haven’t seen in a while. She started off being a window into how any person would react to some of this craziness; by the end of the season she embraced the chaos in a way that few others could.
Sophie Skelton, Outlander (Starz) – While Skelton made her first appearance back during the season 2 finale we’d argue that this is the year she truly had a real chance to shine as Brianna. She brought warmth and relatability to the series in the midst of what were crazy, confusing times for her character. Her scenes in her final season 3 episodes were both emotional and exemplary — it was lovely seeing the continuation of her relationship with Claire, especially in the way in which it evolved prior to Claire’s departure. Of course, we also very much enjoyed seeing the development of the Roger – Bree relationship, as well.
Stefania Spampinato, Grey’s Anatomy (ABC) – She’s had a number of different credits to her name over the years, but as new doctor Carina we’d say that Spampinato truly shined this year. Like with Supernatural it’s hard to get a new character on board this show who brings something new and exciting — she did that in forcing some of the other characters to think outside themselves. Carina is more than just a love interest; she is a force of nature and someone who was thoroughly enjoyable to watch through the entirety of her arc.
Now … we turn this over to you!
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