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2016 Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

Two "Game of Thrones" stars square off against a field of beloved Academy favorites in one tough category to predict.

Kit Harington in "Game of Thrones."

Helen Sloan/HBO

Quick Hits

  • Last Year’s Winner: Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
  • Was It an Upset? Not really, though some thought Jonathan Banks or Ben Mendelsohn had a shot.
  • Still Eligible? Yes.
  • Hot Streak: Jim Carter was nominated every year he was eligible for “Downton Abbey,” until 2016.
  • Fun Fact: The actor tied with the most wins in this category — Aaron Paul — will be competing in the Lead Actor race (in “The Path”) for the first time in his career.

READ MORE: Why the Emmys Should Crown ‘The Americans,’ Not ‘Game of Thrones’: IndieWire’s Emmy Endorsements (Drama)

Always a surprising category on nominations’ day — and a challenging prediction for the winner, as well — the supporting actor category saw a few slight surprises in 2016. First and foremost was Kit Harington, a longtime fan favorite who never seemed to curry a lot of favor from critics or the Academy. But after a year of speculation as to his character’s fate (and a range-emphasizing turn in the comedy “7 Days in Hell”), Harington slid right in next to his co-star (and past winner) Peter Dinklage.

It was also a tad surprising, if a welcome one, to see Ben Mendelsohn’s name on the ballot again. He, too, played a character whose fate was unclear heading into the submitted season, but the “Bloodline” writers cleverly incorporated Danny Rayburn into the new year and even gave Mendelsohn a number of pertinent, emotional scenes. Clearly, the Academy was watching.

And watching the current season isn’t always a guarantee. A number of prognosticators expected Jonathan Banks to be joined — or even replaced — by Michael McKean this year, considering the latter supporting player was given more prominent placement in “Better Call Saul” Season 2. But only Banks made the cut, and now he’ll be facing Michael Kelly from “House of Cards” and Jon Voight from “Ray Donovan”; two actors who’ve been nominated before, but weren’t seen as the strongest contenders — until now.

Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, which will be updated throughout the season. Make sure to keep checking IndieWire for all the latest buzz and highlights from the 2016 race, and read the rest of the predictions in all of the categories, as well.

READ MORE: Before ‘House of Cards’ Season 4, We Need to Talk About Doug

The Nominees: 

  1. Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
  2. Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones”
  3. Kit Harington, “Game of Thrones”
  4. Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”
  5. Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline”
  6. Jon Voight, “Ray Donovan”

Will Win: Kit Harington, “Game of Thrones”
Could Win: Jonathan Banks, “Better Call Saul”
Should Win: Ben Mendelsohn, “Bloodline”

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