2011 Primetime Emmy Predictions: Outstanding Supporting Actor and Actress in a Drama Series

The 2011 Primetime Emmys are so close! September 18th to be exact. Up until the ceremony airs on FOX, I’ll be working through most of the major categories and discussing who could win, who should win and of course, who will win. I’ll likely be tackling two categories in each post, just so you know.

Hey folks, happy Wednesday! Today we take on the last two supporting categories in actress and actor in a drama series. These are super-competitive categories that I am very excited to discuss with you.

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series


  • Andre Braugher, Men of a Certain Age
  • Josh Charles, The Good Wife
  • Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
  • Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
  • Walton Goggins, Justified
  • John Slattery, Mad Men

What won’t happen: This category is awesome. Walton Goggins was the biggest surprise here and perhaps across all nominations and I can’t emphasize enough how excited I am that he is finally being recognized for the great work he does. Peter Dinklage getting nominated was slightly less shocking just because his performance on Game of Thrones was so obviously the best and most-discussed. I predicted that there would be two Good Wife nominees  in this category, but thankfully Josh Charles pulled the spotlight away from Chris Noth. Noth is good, but Josh Charles was tremendous on The Good Wife this year. Still great to see his name, though. Andre Braugher is an Emmy voter favorite and many people assumed that he would win this award last year before Aaron Paul grabbed his much-deserved trophy. John Slattery is always a threat to win and there are some people predicting a Mad Men sweep that could mean big things for him. Anyway, the bad news: Not everyone can win. While it is lovely that Walton Goggins grabbed a nomination, that’s probably as far as it goes unless Justified has a big night all together. “The I of the Storm” is an awesome episode, but I don’t think it is enough. Unfortunately, I also don’t predict big things for Josh Charles. “Closing Arguments” is a wonderful submission choice, however, the Good Wife vote is likely going to be split and Alan Cumming’s role is more showy/arguably better. So Goggins and Charles are out.

What could happen: The remaining four nominees leave us with an interesting race. Braugher’s history makes him a threat and there is no Aaron Paul around to steal his thunder this year. Cumming picked a great episode and he was in the guest category last year, which always helps. And there’s always, always a chance that Game of Thrones has a big night and Peter Dinklage is part of the fun. It’s a great performance and “Baelor” is an episode that the voters are going to see a lot of, so it makes some sense – even with the fantasy cloud hanging over him. Slattery is Slattery.

What should happen: If I had a vote, I’d pick Walton Goggins. Justified is a tremendous series that had an all-time great second season and although all the new characters certainly helped that happen, Goggins’ Boyd is so complex and charming that he still remained the most interesting character on the series. He definitely won’t win, but he probably should.

What will happen: This is a hard choice and I’ve gone back and forth a few times trying to figure out who the odds-on favorite is. Men of a Certain Age’s cancellation certainly didn’t help Braugher’s case and it feels like people aren’t talking about him as much this year anyway. Just like with Game of Thrones, there’s a chance that The Good Wife has a big night and that seeps down to Alan Cumming. However, I can’t go against my gut: It’s Slattery. Good episode choice, part of the biggest Emmy powerhouse going right now. He wins.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series


  • Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
  • Michelle Forbes, The Killing
  • Christina Hendricks, Mad Men
  • Kelly MacDonald, Boardwalk Empire
  • Margo Martindale, Justified
  • Archie Panjabi, The Good Wife

What won’t happen: This category hurts my head. Literally all six women have an excellent choice to win this award. We could make great cases for all six. Voters love Christine Baranski and the possibility for a big Good Wife night has already been mentioned. Michelle Forbes’ work in The Killing got a little grating by the end, but that wasn’t entirely her fault and the pilot is still pretty great. She just brings it. People thought it would be Christina Hendricks’ year last year and it didn’t happen, but she’s still a great performer on one of the two best series around. Kelly MacDonald should have submitted in the lead category and that says something about her work on Boardwalk Empire, a series that has the biggest chance of shoving Mad Men out of the way. Margo Martindale’s performance is probably the “best.” And Archie Panjabi won this award last year and has an arguably showier showcase this season. I would not be shocked if any of these women won. Nevertheless, it’s my self-appointed job to cut through the possibilities and give you probable outcomes. With that in mind, I’d bet that Michelle Forbes and Christine Baranski are out. Two good performances from well-liked women, but there’s just too much going on here for them to have a legitimate shot.

What could happen: Again, ANYTHING, especially with the Hendricks-MacDonald-Martindale-Panjabi quartet. Of the four, I’d guess that Hendricks has the lowest probability to win, but the Mad Men halo could easily swoop down and give her a surprise(ish) win. Otherwise, I don’t know.

What should happen: Margo Martindale. Her work on Justified was unbelievably good, so good that I might be willing to call it the best out of all the nominees, period. Just amazing. Clearly I’m showing my Justified colors, but I don’t care.

What will happen: Unlike her Justified peer Goggins, I think Martindale has a legitimate shot to win this award. Archie Panjabi’s victory last year was a surprise, but once you win, you’re in with the Emmy voters. “Getting Off” is a great episode choice as well. But I have a feeling that Boardwalk Empire is going to make a lot of noise this year, so I’m picking Kelly MacDonald to win here. Martindale and Panjabi are right there, but I just have this sense about Boardwalk in 2011.


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