Last Year’s Winner: Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline”
Still Eligible: No.
Hot Streak: While a number of actors have won this category twice, we haven’t seen a repeat victor since Ray Walston won for “Picket Fences” in 1995 and 1996. That streak will continue at least one more year, given last year’s winner is ineligible in 2017.
Fun Fact: “The West Wing” won this category four times with four different actors: Richard Schiff (2000), Bradley Whitford (2001), John Spencer (2002), and Alan Alda (2006).
With “Game of Thrones” ineligible, this field is wide open. Only three of last year’s six nominees are eligible to earn another nomination in 2017 — Jonathan Banks (“Better Call Saul”), Michael Kelly (“House of Cards”), and Jon Voight (“Ray Donovan”) — meaning even if all three get back in, we’re going to see some new blood this year…
…starting with John Lithgow. The beloved Emmys presence (a five-time winner and 11-time nominee) has already earned a Golden Globe nomination and SAG win for his role in Netflix’s “The Crown,” leaving little doubt he’ll earn recognition from the TV Academy. (And don’t sleep on Jared Harris, who left quite an impact on audiences.) The “This Is Us” crowd is looking pretty lively, as well, with Ron Cephas Jones leading the supporting cast. Meanwhile, HBO has a whole herd of “Westworld” cowboys ready to compete: Ed Harris, Jimmi Simpson, and Jeffrey Wright all look like strong freshman players.
Elsewhere, David Harbour is getting a push for “Stranger Things,” and Ian McShane should have no trouble standing out from the pack in “American Gods.” (He’s great.) Michael McKean will perhaps join his co-star Banks for “Better Call Saul,” and Mandy Patinkin will try to earn his first Emmy nod for “Homeland” since 2014, while co-star Rupert Friend aims for his first nod in this category, period. (He earned a Guest Actor nomination in 2013.) Hugh Dancy will hope the second time’s the charm for his intense work on “The Path,” while Noah Emmerich (“The Americans”) and Christopher Eccleston (“The Leftovers”) are hoping the Emmys voters finally notice their tremendous turns.
Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (in alphabetical order), which will be updated throughout the awards season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2017 race, and read the rest of the predictions in all categories, as well.
- Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
- Ed Harris, “Westworld”
- Ron Cephas Jones, “This Is Us”
- Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”
- John Lithgow, “The Crown”
- Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”
Spoilers: Rupert Friend, “Homeland”; Ian McShane, “American Gods”; Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”
In a Perfect World: Hugh Dancy, “The Path”; Christopher Eccleston, “The Leftovers”; Noah Emmerich, “The Americans”