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What hit in 2011: An Emmy-winning role on "Game of Thrones"
What's Next: Season two of "Game of Thrones" and the feature "Knights of Badassdom"
Lowdown: As the highest-profile little person actor in the business, Dinklage seemed an obvious choice to play the clever imp Tyrion Lannister on HBO's "Game of Thrones." Obvious casting doesn't always lead to a great performance, but in this case, it did. Amidst the huge cast of characters adapted from George R.R. Martin's fantasy novels, Dinklage's Tyrion stood out because of the sheer joy he brought to the role. While everyone else in Westeros was plotting to either protect or steal the throne, Tyrion was mainly trying to enjoy himself, and was surprised when circumstances thrust him into a position of leadership, and even begrudging respect from his estranged father Tywin. Though Emmy voters have an ambivalent at best relationship with fantasy and sci-fi, Dinklage's work was too good for them to ignore, and he became the show's first acting Emmy winner.
Photo Credit: AP Photo