The supporting categories are the toughest to narrow down with so many deserving performances in every single category. So much so that I even had to limit myself with my honorable mentions, especially in the Supporting Actor in a Drama category. It just saddens me though that even with bounty the Emmy voters have with these categories, they still find room to reward an unremarkable performance year in and year out.
Disclaimer: Only performances I have seen are qualified and I'm going to honor the category the actors have chosen to submit themselves in, even when I think it's ultimately wrong.
Supporting Actor, Comedy
Adam Driver, Girls
Nick Offerman, Parks & Recreation
Lamorne Morris, New Girl
Jim Rash, Community
Reid Scott, Veep
Damon Wayans Jr., Happy Endings
I said it last year and the year before and I will continue to say it until the end of time, but the fact that Nick Offerman doesn't even have an Emmy nomination yet reflects so poorly on the Emmys. Rash is the one consistently great thing on his show (even doing double duty as writer!) and the same really could be said about Wayans. People might wonder why I chose Morris instead of Greenfield, but I just like his character more this season. Driver was probably better than his breakout year last year and Scott plays such a pompous jerk so deliciously well. Also yes, no one from Modern Family. I still like the show, but seriously now.
Alternates: Donald Glover & Danny Pudi (Community), Max Greenfield (New Girl), Tony Hale & Matt Walsh (Veep), Alex Karpovsky (Girls), Jack McBrayer (30 Rock)
Supporting Actress, Comedy
Mayim Bialik, Big Bang Theory
Eliza Coupe, Happy Endings
Jenna Fischer, The Office
Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock
Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live
Aubrey Plaza, Parks & Recreation
Can we just give Krakowski the Emmy already? I mean this is pretty much their last time to honor Jenna Maroney! Do they need her to sing Rural Juror again or something? Likewise, I'm sad that Happy Endings has been cancelled, but it'd be nice if one or two of its cast get the recognition they deserve like Coupe here. Bialik and Plaza never disappoint while McKinnon had a breakout debut. Finally, it'd be nice if Fischer was awarded a nomination for the final season especially since she truly became its heart and soul towards the end (despite that silly Brian storyline). Shoutout to Mamet below, who I love, but the show didn't do much with her as I expected after her breakout year.
Alternates: Alison Brie (Community), Anna Chlumsky (Veep), Elisha Cuthbert (Happy Endings), Zosia Mamet (Girls), Retta (Parks & Recreation), Jessica Walter (Arrested Development)
Supporting Actor, Drama
George Blagden, Vikings
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Game of Thrones
Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibal
Mandy Patinkin, Homeland
Aaron Paul, Breaking Bad
Corey Stoll, House of Cards
Just look at my honorable mentions to see how ridiculously stacked this category is, because honestly all of the men on that list deserve to be on the shortlist. Certainly, Dinklage and Noble deliver such grounded and beautiful performance giving their shows much needed heart while Czuchry and Kartheiser had their best seasons yet giving their usual prickly characters great nuance. And again, those are just some of the people I didn't pick. As for those I did pick... Patinkin is the MVP of an uneven sophomore season while 2-time Emmy winner Paul did the best for the little material he was given. Stoll manages to steal scenes from the likes for Spacey and Wright and then some while Mikkelsen is every bit as masterful as the title character as Hopkins without ever feeling like a copycat performance. Finally, Blagden and Coster-Waldau are both pretty, pretty men who went through the ringer this past season on their respective shows and did so sometimes in heartbreaking fashion.
Alternates: Matt Czuchry (The Good Wife), Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), Noah Emmerich (The Americans), Vincent Kartheiser (Mad Men), Dylan O'Brien (Teen Wolf), John Noble (Fringe), Norman Reedus (Walking Dead), Dan Stevens (Downton Abbey)
Supporting Actress, Drama
Christine Baranski, The Good Wife
Jennifer Carpenter, Dexter
Natalie Dormer, Game of Thrones
Anna Gunn, Breaking Bad
Lena Heady, Game of Thrones
Megan Hilty, Smash
People who think Baranski is just coasting have no idea what they're talking about, because she is fabulous and the writers on her show know it and exploit it. The interplay between Dormer and Heady was one of my favorite aspects of this past season and both ladies take full advantage of their skills. Dormer also was great in Elementary this season. Then there's Hilty who seems to really be the only person who got out of that whole show pretty much unscathed. She deserves a nomination alone for giving us the gift of listening to her immaculate voice every week. Finally, I can't even put into words how wonderful Carpenter and Gunn are in portraying women who have been broken and betrayed by the most important man in their lives. They're both just that good. Shout out to Panettiere in my honorable mention who really surprised me this season.
Alternates: Morenna Baccarin (Homeland), Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones), Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Annet Mahendru (The Americans), Hayden Panettiere (Nashville), Maggie Smith (Downton Abbey), Madeleine Stowe (Revenge)
Whew! This really was the toughest post to write mostly, because it took me a really long time to narrow it down. Feel free to talk about the supporting characters YOU loved this past season. There's definitely a lot of people I missed. Tomorrow, I'll post my picks for the lead categories.