Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Peter Dinklage ('Game of Thrones') - Few Game of Thrones characters are as much fun, or as complex, as Tyrion Lannister. Peter Dinklage is terrific as the man also known as 'The Imp' - intelligent, rude, humorous and immensely likeable. It's possible that the Academy will follow past form and only reward Game of Thrones for its technical achievements, but many of the show's actors also deserve to be recognised, not least Dinklage.
Walton Goggins ('Justified') - Let's be honest, it's an absolute crime that Walton Goggins hasn't won an Emmy sooner. His performance on FX drama The Shield as corrupt cop Shane Vendrell was simply stunning, and he's equally superb opposite Timothy Olyphant in the cable network's Justified. Like Shane, Goggins's Boyd Crowder is utterly despicable yet throughly likeable - a testament to this actor's unique talents.
Also worth a mention: Alan Cumming is always deliciously slimy on The Good Wife - maybe the Scottish actor could scoop an Emmy this year? His co-stars Chris Noth and Josh Charles could also be in with a chance. Mad Men's John Slattery has long been an Emmy favourite, so it's also a strong possibility that his performance as Roger Sterling will get the nod this year. And while it's unlikely, we'd love to see Joshua Jackson nominated for his role as Fringe hero Peter Bishop. His performance erased all memories of Dawson Creek's Pacey - no easy task!
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Emilia Clarke ('Game of Thrones') - Can you believe that Game of Thrones was Emilia Clarke's first big role? Us neither. She absolutely shone as Dany, quickly becoming many people's favourite character. Her transformation from meek and mild to tough and strong has been fantastic, and my God, that closing scene was incredible. Watching her cling on to Drogo and then forcing herself to let him go was unbelievably moving, but there's also a steeliness about her. Amazing.
Margo Martindale ('Justified') - Natalie Zea's also submitted herself in this category, but Margo Martindale simply has to be nominated for her role as Mags or there is something very wrong. She could have been a straight-up villain, but Justified never takes the easy route and instead decided to add all kinds of layers. It wouldn't have worked without Martindale, who was simply excellent from start to finish.
Also worth a mention: Khandi Alexander and Kim Dickens from Treme, Kristin Bauer van Straten and Deborah Ann Woll for being consistently awesome in True Blood, the women of Parenthood, Sandra Oh for being so damn good in that trauma storyline on Grey's Anatomy, Boardwalk Empire's super Kelly Macdonald and, of course, Mad Men's Christina Hendricks. I would also absolutely love to see Kiernan Shipka, who plays Sally Draper, get a nomination for being one of the most outstanding child actresses ever.
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series
Ty Burrell ('Modern Family') - Wow, this was a tough pick. Which Modern Family star to go for? Eventually, it just came down to Ty Burrell, who pretty much anchors the show and is always very, very funny (fix that step, though, honestly). But it could really have been any of them - Eric Stonestreet is always fab, Jesse Tyler Ferguson had that Spider-Man moment in the toilet, Ed O'Neill is great at being constantly exasperated. It would also be nice to see recognition for Nolan Gould, who is thrilling as silly little Luke even though he's really a MENSA member in real life.
Danny Pudi ('Community') - Seriously, these ensemble comedies are killing us. Chevy Chase, Donald Glover and Ken Jeong are super, but really it always has to be Danny Pudi. Whether he's delivering a baby in the background of a scene or spitting pop culture references at an incredibly high speed, just one look at his fabulously deadpan face can raise a chuckle. Great stuff.
Also worth a mention: The guys of Glee always have a good shot, especially Max Adler and Chris Colfer for their sterling work in the bullying storyline. It would be nice to see the men of The Big C get some kind of recognition, while Garret Dillahunt is a great, goofy grandfather on Raising Hope. Peter Facinelli is fabulously annoying as Coop on Nurse Jackie, and could we see some love for The Office's supporting cast in Steve Carell's last season? How I Met Your Mother's Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel and The Big Bang Theory's Simon Helberg also have a good shot.
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Jane Lynch ('Glee') - As the Glee juggernaut rolls onwards, last year's winner Lynch seems a dead cert to be nominated again this year. But with her character absent from several episodes in Glee's second season, her victory is far from certain this time around. Ironically, Lynch's best work this year was her moving and dramatic performance in the episode 'Funeral' - maybe this could tip the scales her way?
Betty White ('Hot in Cleveland') - Betty White deserves an Emmy. Why? Because she's Betty White. OK, so the veteran actress already has seven (count 'em, seven) of the awards on her mantelpiece, but she's a national treasure who owns a pet elephant, swears like a trooper and drinks vodka with David Letterman. And she's great on Hot in Cleveland - how many more reasons do you need?
Also worth a mention: Alison Brie's Community performance always raises a smile, so perhaps it's wise not to rule the actress out completely. Eve Best is superb on Nurse Jackie, but is probably another Emmy long-shot. Outside of the traditional sitcom, Bridesmaids star Kristin Wiig's continuing contribution to Saturday Night Live is also worthy of recognition.
Who are your favourite supporting artists on TV? Voice your opinions below!
> Emmy Picks 2011: Outstanding Drama Series
> Emmy Picks 2011: Outstanding Comedy Series
> Emmy Picks 2011: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy
> Emmy Picks 2011: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy
> Emmy Picks 2011: Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama
> Emmy Picks 2011: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama