CarterMatt Awards 2019: Chicago PD, Euphoria, His Dark Materials, & more actors vie for Breakout Star

Breakout Star

Welcome to the 2019 CarterMatt Awards! This is our year-end tradition (eight years strong!) where we as a site celebrate some of the best that TV has to offer! Our staff joins forces to hand-pick nominees across a wide array of different fields, and then leaves it up to you to declare the winner. This has always been one of our favorite times of the year, as we get a chance to celebrate TV while looking back at the individual elements that make it great.

Today the focus here is on Breakout Star, a category defined mostly on the basis of who created a huge impression on us in the past calendar year? It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a newcomer on the scene, but maybe you’re shining in your first leading role, or you’ve found a spot in the pop-culture consciousness with a notable part. These are people and performances we’ve been talking about all year round, and we’re certainly hoping that continues entering 2020.

Voting rules – You can vote for this award however often you want until the closing of the voting window — all polls close at 12:00 p.m. Pacific time (3:00 p.m. Eastern) on Tuesday, December 31. For more technical information on voting, including how to vote multiple times, read the bottom of this article; meanwhile, visit our CarterMatt Awards Landing Page for all of the 2019 categories, plus a schedule as to when new polls will be posted.

Now, let’s get to sharing the Breakout Star nominees…

Asante Blackk, When They See Us and This Is Us – It’s not all that often that you have an actor burst onto the scene with two different roles in the same year. Yet, that’s happened with Asante. We’ve seen two meaningful performances in 2019 that show the capacity of his heart and ability to transform himself into a number of different personas. Odds are, this is only the beginning to some other great stuff.

Lisseth Chavez, Chicago PD – While fans of The Fosters may know her from her arc there as Ximena, she’s shown herself now to a whole new audience on Chicago PD. Vanessa Rojas is smart, tough, and also capable of going undercover and enduring a great deal of pain. We knew that finding a new member of Intelligence would not be easy, but Lisseth’s performance makes her a more than welcome addition this season.

Dafne Keen, His Dark Materials – The HBO/BBC series has proven itself to be a brilliant adaptation of the source material, one with darkness, emotion and plenty of passion. Keen has given us the perfect Lyra, and has shown so much spirit through the first batch of episodes. The right Lyra needs to be inquisitive and determined, and we’ve seen that from her in every single season.

Danila Kozlovsky, Vikings – Prince Oleg is as bold and brazen a character as you’re going to find. He’s demented, egocentric, and he has no problem lording over those close to him. This is the sort of role that you need charisma for days in order to pull off — and we’re pleased to say that Kozlovsky nails it in every single scene. Even though he and Alex Hogh Andersen haven’t been working together long, the shared chemistry is very much clear.

Erin Moriarty, The Boys – While the Amazon series is far from Erin’s first work, we think her portrayal of Annie/Starlight propels her into an entirely different light. She’s a character so well-developed throughout the first season, someone who confronts the corrupted notion of a “superhero” within a very commodified world and tries to find a way to fight against it. Season 1 is short, but she’s one of the reasons why it is so thoroughly compelling.

Kennedy McMann, Nancy Drew – It’s not easy to take on source material like this — for decades fans have had their own interpretation of what Nancy Drew is like. Yet, McMann succeeds both in bringing that character to life and also injecting her own sense of style and personality to the proceedings. She feels like a Nancy that is very much her own, someone inquisitive and likable and still very complicated.

Tom Payne, Prodigal Son – Sure, Payne’s been around for some time and is very well familiar to fans of The Walking Dead. Yet, with his role as Malcolm Bright on the Fox drama, he’s been able to elevate himself to another level with a smart, strong performance as a man with an extremely tortured past — but also a desire to work himself out of the various knots of his life. He’s one reason why the show remains so addictive.

Hunter Schafer, Euphoria – A true breakout star if there ever was one, the HBO series is Hunter’s first major television credit — yet, she’s partly responsible for one of the year’s most complex relationships courtesy of Julies with Rue. There is a lot of pain to this performance and this world, but Schafer breathes so much life into the work that you never want to stop watching.

Now, it’s time to vote!

Check out the poll below, and be sure to visit our landing page for more categories.

I can’t see the poll on an individual category page; what do I do? – If you are on mobile, scroll to the bottom of the page and click to view the non-AMP version. If that does not work, give the poll a moment to load! On some mobile browsers, it may take a moment to show up. If you are still having trouble, try switching to a different device.

How can I vote more than once? – If you are having trouble casting multiple votes, try clearing your cookies, switching your browser, your device, or visiting the page under private browsing or incognito mode.

Results are now closed. View the winners here!

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