CarterMatt Awards 2018: Eline Powell, Jake Borelli, Perdita Weeks, Diona Reasonover among Breakout Star nominees

Welcome to the 2018 CarterMatt Awards! This is our seventh annual year-end series where we as a site celebrate some of the best that TV has to offer! Our staff collectively hand-picks nominees across a wide array of different fields, and then leaves it up to you to declare the winner. We’ve had a fun time over the years with these awards and creating some fun debate throughout the month of December. Hopefully, this time around is no exception!

Today we’re discussing Breakout Star, a category that is really all about people who burst onto the TV scene in a huge way in 2018, delivering a performance that we’ll remember for years to come. These are people who you may not have heard too much about going into this year, but now you’re excited about every little thing that they’re doing — both on these shows and potentially some others down the road.

Voting rules – Vote however often you’d like! If you are having issues with voting, a handy guide can be found later on in this article.

The nominees

Jake Borelli, Grey’s Anatomy  While this is Borelli’s second season on the ABC series as Levi a.k.a. “Glasses,” we do think that 2018 was Borelli’s time to shine. While he is at the center of some of the ABC’s funniest moments (including the incident with the cake at the end of last season), he’s also been front and center for a beautiful story involving Nico this fall. We’ve seen a different side of him, and the scene in the winter finale in which Levi opened up about never exploring his sexuality growing up was so incredibly done that it may be a cornerstone of the character for years to come.

Stephan James, Homecoming – We hadn’t heard of James before watching Homecoming, but now he’s quickly become one of our favorite performers. His take on Walter Cruz was beautiful, heartbreaking and we felt the optimism of his character permeating through our television screens. While there were a lot of bad people doing bad things in Homecoming, Walter was this incredible light who really believed in the process and made us believe too and that was all due to James’ performance.

Jessica Parker Kennedy, The Flash – Nora West-Allen is a pivotal part of everything on The Flash this season, and this is a part that Kennedy was brilliant in. This character requires enthusiasm and passion, but also a vulnerability given that we are talking here about a young woman who is getting a chance to spend time with her father. She has to balance out that desire to know him with the seriousness of the moment — a battle against Cicada, and also a secret she is keeping from everyone regarding Eobard Thawne. To date, she has handled all of this effortlessly and Nora gets more intriguing with each passing episode.

Nicole Maines, Supergirl – The character of Nia Nal has served as a rather-wonderful breath of fresh air through season 4 to date. She entered the show with some of the enthusiasm and insecurity that we saw with a young Kara Danvers, someone who wanted nothing more than to find her place in the world and show that she was ready to tackle whatever was thrown at her. Over time, we’ve seen her blossom and the early stages of Dreamer in the fall finale are really just setting the stage for all sorts of fascinating drama coming in the new year. She’s an inspirational character, and one exceptionally played.

Eline Powell, Siren – Ryn is a completely unique character in that she is a mythical creature, and much of the challenge for Powell likely came in having to build up a backstory, mannerisms, and the way in which she carried herself. She had to construct a mermaid from the ground up and make her both distinctly aquatic and also still human. That is not a particularly-easy thing to do, but she made us believe in her from the moment we first saw her on our screens. Going into the second season, we find ourselves still intrigued about Ryn’s story while also asking even more questions about who she is and some other elements of her background.

Diona Reasonover, NCIS – Following up an iconic character is never easy, but luckily NCIS gave us a chance to get to know Kasie Hines even before she become a full-time member of the team. Since her arrival, we’ve had a chance to get to know someone who is fun, but also takes her job seriously. She brings a unique energy to the show, one that is certainly much-needed — rather than just face constant comparisons to Abby, Reasonover has done her own thing building this character independent of that and getting us excited about where she could go moving forward this season.

Danielle Rose Russell, Legacies and The Originals – Through 2019, Russell effectively had to play two different versions of Hope — one immersed in darkness in The Originals and one trying to free herself of some of it on Legacies. Yet, she’s been able to keep the part consistent. You get the sense that she is a young woman burdened by some of the difficult experiences and challenges that she’s been through and at the same time, there is still a passion and enthusiasm for life. She doesn’t spend all of her time moping around or feeling sad over her past. Russell makes her relatable, and that’s certainly no easy task.

Perdita Weeks, Magnum PI – We knew that Higgins would be fun from the moment we first saw her in the pilot! Weeks injects a lot of humor into this role, while also allowing her to be smart, formidable, and capable of getting the job done. She’s a fantastic foil to Magnum, but we do like that she’s also got a deep personal history and vulnerabilities to go along with it. Given that this is a series still in its first season, we feel rather delighted that the writers have found as many ways as they have to inject personality into this character.

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