Make Your Case: Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series

For the next week, (Pop) Culturally Informed will be running a brand new series called Make Your Case, where Ben and Nina will take on one major category in turn for next week’s Emmys, pick who they think should win, and make their case. Note: We aren’t going to say who WILL win, but who should. Sometimes these will be one and the same- but we like to choose the road less traveled whenever possible because we are both contrarians. Enjoy!

I feel silly even pretending like I’m going to address any of these other nominees, particularly because (and I am admitting my total failure as a pop culture “writer” right now) I don’t even watch any of these shows that aren’t Game of Thrones. Well, I guess that’s technically not true. I’ve watched the near entirety of Better Call Saul, and am big enough to admit that Jonathan Banks is an insanely talented human who I would probably watch change a tire onscreen for thirty minutes straight. I’ve seen House of Cards and gave up on it once it became clear that it was actually kind of a garbage show, but one with a very glossy exterior. Again, I’m not good at The Good Wife, but Alan Cumming is one of my favorite people to ever exist on the planet. (Did you know he has a perfume called Cumming?!) Downton Abbey, otherwise known as Nap, isn’t exactly on my DVR Series Recordings, so, sorry, Jim Carter, and Bloodline is just the Hemlock Grove of Netflix (which makes Hemlock Grove the Hemlock Grove of Hulu, somehow, I think), so, extra sorry, probably very good Ben Mendelsohn. This year, like all other years, I have eyes for one supporting actor, and it’s Peter Dinklage from (doy) Game of Thrones.

Peter Dinklage had to be convinced to take the part of Tyrion Lannister by George Arrrr Martin himself, and thank God he let himself get talked into it. For five seasons now, Dinklage has been giving one of the most open, sarcastic, and surprising performances in television, and he has been recognized for it before – he won an Emmy for the very first season of Thrones, but like Aaron Paul before him, he should be a repeat offender. I should be upfront about this – I honestly think he should have won last year for his absolutely stunning trial-to-patricide arc (his snarling, hell-raising speech at his own trial was one for the ages), but Dinklage didn’t exactly sit Season 5 out.

This season found Tyrion, a recent escapee of King’s Landing, safe and sound with Varys and on a search for Daenerys, their new favorite Queen of Westeros. If Season 4 was Snarl, Season 5 would be Logic – even as drunk as he constantly is (no, really, just constantly), Tyrion uses his wit to achieve his ends, and I could watch him do that forever. From his kidnapping by Jorah Mormont (who he correctly names in a matter of minutes, even having never met Jorah before) and his ascension to advisor to Daenerys, an exhausted Tyrion uses his considerably sharp wit to carve a brand new path through Westeros and beyond, making it clear that though he bears the Lannister name, all ties are, well, pretty severed at this point. Even though this season may not have had the full theatrics of the previous one, Dinklage still got a chance to show off his ever-evolving range, whether he’s butchering the Valyrian tongue, beating up a slave trader, leveling with Dany, or fighting off Stone Men.

Dinklage is consistently so excellent on this show, and now that golden boy Aaron Paul has left the race, it seems to me that there’s only one possible choice here. Dinklage’s Tyrion contains multitudes – he can be smarmy as well as sweet, thoughtful as well as rude, conniving as well as earnest and bold as well as scared all in the same moment, and for that, he deserves Emmy #2.

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