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Jonathan Banks of 'Breaking Bad'
Jonathan Banks, "Breaking Bad"
Nomination Status: If Emmy voters are properly reminded, there's every reason to think Banks should slide right into the slot vacated by Giancarlo Esposito.
In His Favor: While Mike Ehrmantraut didn't take over Gus' capacity as "Breaking Bad" Big Bad in the first half of Season 5, he definitely picked up a lot of Giancarlo Esposito's vacated screentime and delivered one of the most impressive pieces of understated TV acting you're ever likely to see. With every raised eyebrow or exasperated expression, Banks showed his character's weariness with the recent turn of meth-related events, while never letting us forget Mike's lethal capacity for danger. He rarely raised his voice and almost never relied on actorly busy-ness, but he played endless musical variations on a hangdog expression. Banks' last Emmy nomination came in 1989 for "Wiseguy," so a nod this year would be a good story.
Working Against Him: Banks was nearly as deserving last year, but he was overlooked and last summer's episodes seem like they aired ages ago. Banks suffers from that "Breaking Bad" plight of always being the third actor any Emmy voter will notice, after Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul and one might even argue that Dean Norris had the showier role at times. Just as Esposito was the nomination I was rooting for most heavily last year, Banks would be at the top of my personal ballot.