If you were to ask us, we’d say this about all Supporting categories at the Emmys — it’s all about impact. If you’re not the star of a given show, you need to hope that your work moved people in a short amount of time. Maybe it was a memorable line, the way you carried yourself, or the chemistry you had with your co-stars. The biggest thing you want as a viewer is to be left wanting more.
As is often the case, trying to narrow down a potential field of nominees is no easy task. Yet, in this edition of our ongoing Emmy Preview series, CarterMatt is going through all of our favorite Supporting Actor in a Drama Series picks for 2020. Remember to check out the link here to get our take on a number of different categories!
Giancarlo Esposito, Better Call Saul – Gus Fring is worth watching every single millisecond he is on the screen. Even watching Gus doing mundane tasks at Los Pollos Hermanos is gold. Giancarlo has long played this character with an exceptional amount of quiet intensity, and that coursed through his time in season 5. We’re in the midst of a war between Gus and the Salamanca family, and while you may know how it ends, the performances keep you glued to the screen.
Cole Hauser, Yellowstone – Speaking of intense characters, Rip Wheeler is one of the most magnetic people to watch on the Paramount Network drama. He’s a ranch hand and in, some ways, a darker version of the quintessential modern-day cowboy. Yet, you think about what he’s gone through and his struggle to find a place. You think about the relationship between him and Beth Dutton as two broken people looking for something real to hold on to. He’s a character worthy of a separate origin-story show in his own right.
James Pickens Jr., Grey’s Anatomy – We’ve long been hoping for a fantastic Richard Webber arc on this show and we got one courtesy of the end of this past season. It’s hard to play a character struggling with a debilitating ailment, and Pickens brought a new sense of Richard to the screen. There was confusion, but then also commitment to the confusion. Watching him almost operate on himself was a moment of sheer terror. We’ve come to love James so much on the show that the fear of him leaving was palpable.
Richard Rankin, Outlander – We remember after the Battle of Alamance having a pit in our stomach that Roger may not survive. Luckily, he did, and the material that followed allowed Rankin to deliver the best work of his career. Without being able to speak for most of “Famous Last Words,” he still found a way to deliver a haunting performance as Roger struggled with the post-traumatic stress of almost dying. It was heartbreaking, but that silence made the moment he spoke all the more powerful.
Richard Schiff, The Good Doctor – As Dr. Aaron Glassman, Schiff is really one of the strongest supporting actors you can ever hope for. He can take a two-minute scene and turn it into something beautiful. He’s so well-rounded when you think about his romantic life to his father-figure status with Shaun, plus everything going on at the hospital and his cancer battle. He brings so much warmth to the character when it’s called for, but it’s informed by all of his choices and past struggles.
Joseph Sikora, Power – Tommy Egan is an iconic TV character and Sikora was one of the biggest reasons why. Watch his final scene with Omari Hardwick and you’ll know exactly why he’s deserving — as he’s been for many years in the past. Also, do yourself a favor and re-watch “It’s All Your Fault” from season 6. Stellar all around. Sikora found way to give unprecedented depth to such a dangerous guy in Tommy Egan, someone still defined by much of his own pain and torment.
Who do you want to see getting a Supporting Actor in a Drama Series nomination this year?
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