In the weeks leading up to the 2007 Primetime Emmy Awards, I'll be looking at the nominees in some major categories and trying to predict who's most likely to win in these Emmy Breakdowns. Up today: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, which really seems like a toss-up.
Michael Emerson ("Lost") — Everyone loves to hate Emerson’s character Ben. A clever, cold-hearted villain of the worst kind, Ben is a master of manipulation, always playing on peoples’ worst fears. He’s outrageously evil, but what makes Emerson’s performance so riveting is that he sometimes manages to make Ben seem almost… sympathetic! Against my better judgment, there have been times when even I have fallen prey to those huge, round, unblinking eyes and believed every cunning word. Emerson makes me loathe Ben as a magnificently bad guy, but I’m also fascinated by him and think he makes a worthy adversary for those we consider the good guys, like Locke. I would not be surprised if Emerson had the voters under his spell as well. Chance of winning: High
Michael Imperioli ("The Sopranos") — How much do the Emmys really want to celebrate "The Sopranos" this year? If they truly want to shower the show with awards, then I could easily see this going to Imperioli; Christopher was always among my favorite supporting characters on the show, and the episode he submitted ("Walk Like a Man") was chilling. Then again, he's won before, and voters might want to recognize someone new here. Chance of winning: High.
To see my thoughts on the other four nominees just
T.R. Knight ("Grey's Anatomy") — Knight's nomination makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, and I'm not sure I can pinpoint quite why. On the one hand, I think Knight proved himself as an actor on "Grey's" this season, especially in the episodes he submitted (the "Six Days" installments, in which George deals with his father's illness). On the other hand, there was just so much on- and off-set drama this year, with Knight at the center of much of it. Fair or not, I think that makes him a little bit poisonous for voters. Chance of winning: Low.
Masi Oka ("Heroes") — Aside from being outrageously likable onscreen, Masi Oka has proven himself a versatile actor, which is most apparent in the episode that is submitted for consideration (“Five Years Gone”, or "The String Theory"). In this episode, the charming innocence and sweetness that Oka gives to Hiro’s character is turned on its head when Oka portrays a “future Hiro” in addition to the "present-day Hiro." The two Hiros meet which makes for many hilarious lines and interactions. Most of all, however, I was floored at Oka’s ability to make the same character seem older, wiser and more bitter. Oka is excellent in most every episode of “Heroes,” but even if voters only know this episode of his work, I predict they'll be very impressed. Chance of winning: Moderate to high.
Terry O’Quinn ("Lost") — The character of John Locke had one hell of a Season 3. Anyone following the show for all three seasons knows that O’Quinn is a solid and consistent performer, but this was definitely his season to shine as Locke came to terms with his daddy issues, grappled with his feelings about the Island and the Others, and played all sorts of power games with Ben (played by Michael Emerson who is, ironically, also nominated in this category). He’s had to go from flashbacks in which he seems weak and sad to being a total badass on the Island. I’m a huge fan of O'Quinn and I’m thrilled that he has been recognized with the nomination, but given the incredible competition in this particular category, I think his chances are only so-so. Chance of winning: Moderate.
William Shatner ("Boston Legal") — If we know two things about Emmy voters, it's that they like a) "Boston Legal" and b) William Shatner. He's now been nominated three times for the show, and he's won once. But I find his nomination in the category strange, especially considering the number of quality performances on shows that are more strictly dramatic; I always think of Shatner's role as comic relief on a show that's frequently silly anyway. Do I think he deserves to win? No. But he still might. Chance of winning: Moderate.