For the preamble, including an explanation on what exactly the Andy TV Awards are, go here. Shows that received Emmy nominations in these two categories that I don’t watch, and thus had no chance of getting nominations here include Boston Legal and Two and a Half Men.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
This is a loaded category, as a lot of the best characters in comedies are the guys that get to come in, get off a few good lines, and steal the scene. As a result, many great names were left on the outside looking in, including Jim Gaffigan, Charlie Day, Jason Segal, and Emmy nominee Jack McBrayer. One note: thank god the Academy didn’t nominate Jeremy Piven this year, sparing us his eventual victory for a show that hasn’t been good in years. Unless, of course, they go and give it to Kevin Dillon.
The nominees are…
Rhys Darby in Flight of the Conchords – I’ll admit, I didn’t love Murray in the first season of Conchords, but I’ve definitely come around with the second. In many ways, he was the MVP of the uneven second season. The series always resets by the end of each episode, with Brett and Jemaine often doing variations of the same bits every other episode. Darby brings new things to the table, be it his simmering feud with Greg, his friendship scale, or his charitable donations to a Nigerian prince. The songs weren’t always funny in season two, but Darby was.
Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother – NPH has been the best part of HIMYM since the pilot (I may write this whole article in acronyms), with a tour de force comedic performance that would probably be loathsome coming from an actor with less natural charm. I’d complain that he’s probably three Emmys short right now, if I hadn’t snubbed him myself for two of the past three years (I’m sure he was the runner-up). This past season, Harris was able to mix his typical bravado with a little drama by dealing with his feelings with Robin. The nice part is that he was able to do that without losing the edge that is essential to Barney.
Justin Kirk in Weeds – To clarify, this is for the 2008 season of Weeds, not this past season (which started after the cutoff, but is finished now), but the reasoning is the same: Justin Kirk has easily been the best part of a show that really hasn’t been all that good since season two. Season five was probably the nadir of the series, making Kirk’s supporting role all the more important. The other five actors on this list are great additions to great shows. Justin Kirk might be the only thing making a struggling show watchable (well… that and Mary Louise Parker’s not-too-infrequent nudity).
John Krasinski in The Office – Like his co-star Jenna Fischer, Krasinski doesn’t get enough credit for the crucial element he adds to the show. While flashier performances by Steve Carrell, Rainn Wilson, and Ed Helms get the attention, Krasinski is sometimes dismissed as the cute slacker guy who just throws smirks to the camera. But the element he brings is what separates The Office from the goofier shows like 30 Rock and Better Off Ted. Plus, we got to see Jim react to no longer the golden boy when dealing with Charles Minor, giving Krasinski something new to do this season.
Tracy Morgan in 30 Rock – Tracy Morgan is a comedy assassin. He just floats in and out of the show, says some crazy shit that makes him sound like a space alien, then moves on. And we are all better for it. OK, here comes the fun cooker.
Rainn Wilson in The Office – Not that Rainn Wilson doesn’t deserve the attention he gets, after all, I gave him this award last year. He’s been evolving as a character for years now (without losing the weirdness that is essential to his character and his show), stepping out of Michael’s shadow a bit this year during the MSPC. Plus, he got to be an alpha in comparison to Helms’ Andy Bernard. The Cornell gag was a highlight.
The award goes to…
Neil Patrick Harris in How I Met Your Mother
I couldn’t get him to host this blog, but he gets the award anyway. Barney Stinson is probably the funniest character on TV, with Neil Patrick Harris continually adding new wrinkles to him to prevent his shtick from getting old. If you can’t get behind his work, you are clearly an enemy of fun.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Year after year, this is the hardest category to limit (even with the extra nomination to play with this year). So many of TVs best dramas are ensembles, meaning that I could easily nominate 10 actors for this award and still leave strong performances out. Luckily, unlike the Supporting Actress category, all contenders are legitimate supporting roles, rather than lead roles disguised as supporting for awards purposes, allowing me to at least compare apples to different kinds of apples. How do you like them variations of fruit?
The nominees are…
Michael Emerson in Lost – You could argue that Emerson has become the star of Lost, and you wouldn’t necessarily be wrong. But he’s still clearly a supporting character in the show, just an awesome one. This past season showed that he could do puppet just as well as he’s mastered puppeteer.
Walton Goggins in The Shield – Goggins’ Shane Vendrell was always the most reprehensible member of the Strike Team, which might have disguised what a powerful performer he’s been throughout the series run. Well there was no disguising it in the final season, with Goggins playing a desperate man clinging on to the bottom rung.
Josh Holloway in Lost – Michael Emerson’s Ben might be the best part of Lost overall, but Josh Holloway’s
Sawyer LaFleur was the best part of this season, and the centrepiece of perhaps the season’s best episode. For years he was mired in the Jack-Kate-Sawyer triangle that almost always drags the show down. This season he was able to step away from it (at least for awhile), exhibiting true charisma and genuine pathos as the leader of the Losties, generating the kind of true romance that used to be reserved for Sun and Jin.
Vincent Kartheiser in Mad Men – John Slattery gets all the supporting actor love for Mad Men, which is understandable since Roger gets so many of the best lines that he might as well be nominated in the comedy category. Kartheiser’s work is easier to underestimate, much like his character. When the series first began, it seemed like Kartheiser wasn’t up to the task, delivering his lines as though he was reading them for the first time. It took a few episodes to realize that it’s not Kartheiser whose out of place, but rather his character Pete Campbell who’s out of place, playing the role of a grownup without really understanding what being a grownup is all about. He’s still a weasel, but a sympathetic one, who clinched his nomination with his absolutely devastating scene with Peggy in the season finale.
John Mahoney in In Treatment – Of all the Emmy nomination snubs, this one surprised me the most. He’s a veteran star, with two previous nominations under his belt, in a show that Emmy voters have taken notice of (earning three other nominations in other categories), who had the type of big dramatic moment that voters always go for… yet he was on the outside looking in. Of course, I’ve already stated that this is difficult category to limit (of course, I’d have made it easier by eliminating two actors from Boston Legal). All I know is that my immediate reaction after seeing “Walter: Week Six” was that Mahoney could book his Emmy nomination right then, proving once again how in tune I am with the Academy.
Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad – In season two, Breaking Bad went from great to excellent, largely because it went from being a showcase for star Bryan Cranston to being a truer ensemble, with Aaron Paul making the biggest leap. The change of Jesse being a wannabe criminal to haunted junkie might be the most powerful story of the series, with his feature episode “Peekaboo” being one of the most haunting of the year.
The award goes to…
Walton Goggins in The Shield
I still get chills thinking of Goggins journey in the final season of The Shield. His final scene will stay with me for a long time, but everything leading up to that was nearly as powerful. He and Mara’s attempts to live on the run were so powerful that they felt like a mini-movie. We’ve seen Goggins do the desperate, aggressive thing for a few seasons, but we never saw him as tender as he was in certain moments here. The writers and Goggins accomplished what I would’ve previously thought impossible: after everything he had done, I sympathized with Shane Vendrell.