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).
First-time nominees David Harbour and Ron Cephas Jones are the only two newbies to the Emmys, and they’re two of the strongest contenders to win. Harbour surprised a few prognosticators by snagging a spot, but it’s clear now that “Stranger Things” is a formidable opponent in every category. Jones was expected to earn a slot, but “This Is Us” is just as hot of a commodity as its Netflix competitor. Jones had quite an arc during Season 1, and voters may get behind the fan favorite.
That is, if they’re not even more taken by long-time favorites like John Lithgow. The two-time Oscar nominee is a five-time Emmy winner, with his last trophy handed over in 2010. His turn in “The Crown,” as controversial but inspiring leader Winston Churchill, has already snagged a Golden Globe nod this year, so he’s got a hot streak forming already. One could argue Michael Kelly has a good shot, as well, given he’s now been nominated three years in a row for “House of Cards,” but it doesn’t feel like it’s his time just yet.
Meanwhile, Mandy Patinkin has six nominations and a win, but the “Homeland” star has never taken home the trophy for his Showtime drama. Perhaps this is the year. The same can be said of Jonathan Banks, who now has five Emmy nods and zero trophies, four of which are for the same character: Mike Ehrmantraut. Can the “Better Call Saul” and “Breaking Bad” star break through?
Not if Jeffrey Wright has anything to say about it. The “Westworld” star has a perfect record at the Emmys. Sure, he’s only been nominated once, but it was for an HBO series in a supporting role. History, be it brief, is in his favor.
Below are IndieWire TV Critic Ben Travers’ predictions for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, 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”
- David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
- Michael Kelly, “House of Cards”
- Ron Cephas Jones, “This Is Us”
- John Lithgow, “The Crown”
- Mandy Patinkin, “Homeland”
- Jeffrey Wright, “Westworld”
Will Win: John Lithgow, “The Crown”
Could Win: David Harbour, “Stranger Things”
Should Win: John Lithgow, “The Crown”