Emmy’s 2014: The Top 10 Actors Who Deserve First-Time Nominations

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With the nominations announcement only two days away, and plenty of excellent shows gracing our TVs this past season, there’s plenty of speculation about who will be going for gold this August.

While it’s rare for the voters at the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences to stray from their comfort zones, we here at The Filtered Lens always like to root for the underdog. There’s no denying that certain actors consistently turn in great performances year after year, but it would be nice if some new talent got recognized for their hard work as well. Without further ado, here are the Top 10 Actors who Deserve a First-Time Nomination at this year’s Emmy Awards:


Photo Credit: http://cdn.fansided.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/320/files/2014/06/true-detective.png10. Matthew McConaughey (True Detective)-

I’m starting off with McConaughey first because, out of all the contenders on this list, he’s the most likely to be nominated come Thursday. His portrayal of Rust Cohle was nothing short of mesmerizing, as we watched him become simultaneously hardened and frail to the gruesome world around him. Whether it was his breathtaking shootout through the streets of a gang neighborhood, or his emotional breakdown in front of Marty in the finale, it was hard to look away when Rust appeared on screen.


Photo Credit: http://www.spoilersguide.com/media/images/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/scandal_season2_mellie.jpg9. Bellamy Young (Scandal)-

Much of the drama in Scandal revolves around the torrid romance between Kerry Washington’s Olivia Pope and Tony Goldwyn’s President Fitzgerald Grant, but Young is really the show’s secret weapon. Playing a scorned and scheming First Lady isn’t easy, but playing a woman who is both villainous and sympathetic is an even more challenging task. Young never missed a beat this season, including her painfully restrained argument with Fitz where she tries to both berate him and keep her rape a secret.


Photo Credit: http://cdn.phillymag.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Screenshot-Looking-Jonathan-Groff.png8. Jonathan Groff (Looking)-

The first season of Looking was bizarrely unfocused, but it’s central character quickly became the show’s standout star. In Patrick, Groff created a single-guy-in-the-city character who was multidimensional. At times he was upbeat and optimistic, while in other moments he gave way to neediness and insecurity. Though the show primarily deals with LGBT issues, Patrick’s struggles with his friends and his love life proved to be incredibly relatable, regardless of your orientation.


Photo Credit: https://s3.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/bPq4Fy75WBYrZEVe5pss9g--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NTt3PTYzMA--/http://l.yimg.com/os/publish-images/tv/2014-04-21/6d91e720-c972-11e3-bead-55c0602d5659_f6d79867-0f23-a786-681d-a1d690a28f9a_MM_702_MY_1119_0448.jpg7. Kiernan Shipka (Mad Men)-

When this show first started, Shipka’s Sally Draper only appeared to be a minor supporting character. Over the course of six and a half seasons, however, Sally has grown into a complex and engaging young woman whose efforts to deal with her parents’ failings is utterly compelling. Take, for example, her diner scene with Don in the season 7 episode “A Day’s Work.” They appear to be working through their issues, but Shipka’s layered performance suggests there’s so much more brewing under the surface.


Photo Credit: http://pixel.nymag.com/imgs/fashion/daily/2014/03/19/19-broad-city-ilana-glazer.o.jpg/a_4x.jpg6. Ilana Glazer (Broad City)-

The best example of Broad City‘s delightfully carefree nature resides in Glazer’s Ilana Wexler, who’s a free spirit in the best way possible. Whether she’s skipping work after stealing her boss’ office supplies, taking it upon herself to walk other people’s dogs, or simply getting getting high and going to the candy store with Abbi, Ilana is a source of nonstop hilarity. Glazer’s confidence and bubbly personality shine through in all of Ilana’s best moments, making her one of the most original female characters to ever grace the small screen.


Photo Credit: http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/story/tatiana-maslany-talks-prepping-for-orphan-black-season-two-20140415/1000x600/orphanblack-600-1397493806.jpg5. Tatiana Maslany (Orphan Black)-

If Maslany doesn’t get nominated this year, the outcry of a million TV critics and Tumblr users will be deafening. There’s no shortage of praise for her multiple performances as several different clones on BBC America’s sci-fi thriller, and why would there be? Season 2 of Orphan Black had its flaws, but her unique characterizations rose above the plot inconsistencies and remained a force all their own. Maslany not only added dimensions to her existing roles, but also introduced us to intriguing new ones without ever breaking a sweat. It’s acting acrobatics at its finest.


Photo Credit: http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1777439!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_970/game-thrones-season-4.jpg4. Maisie Williams (Game of Thrones)-

Arya has had a pretty terrible time this season, but that hasn’t stopped Williams from making her any less engaging. In a show filled with interesting characters, Arya stands out as an magnetic wildcard. She’s resilient, but incredibly damaged, and watching her delve deeper into darkness is incredibly fascinating. In the finale, we see her merciless goodbye to The Hound, as well as the beginning of her hopeful journey with Jaqen. Williams plays each scene perfectly, proving that this is one little girl you don’t want to mess with.


Photo Credit: http://wac.450f.edgecastcdn.net/80450F/screencrush.com/files/2013/10/Untitled1.jpg3. Samira Wiley (Orange is the New Black)-

Orange is a show full of stellar performances, so it’s more than a little difficult to pick just one. Yet, Wiley took her character Poussey to new heights this season, making her more than just a charming sidekick to Danielle Brook’s Taystee. Through fighting off the domineering advances of Vee, and her heartbreaking flashback in the episode “You Also Have a Pizza,” Wiley created a powerful unsung hero in a show already filled with larger-than-life characters. That takes real talent.


Photo Credit: http://www.joblo.com/images_arrownews/will-graham-hugh.jpg2. Hugh Dancy (Hannibal)-

Mads Mikkelson might have the flashier role as the titular serial killer, but Dancy has succeeded in the challenging task of making his Will Graham equally as mysterious and enthralling. Will sat behind bars for the first half of season 2, allowing Dancy to play his role with a quiet sense of manipulation. The more the show delves into the disturbing nature of Will’s mind, the more Dancy truly gets to flex his dramatic muscles.


Photo Credit: http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-AOZ3xGrSLCg/UYQ3S87LJxI/AAAAAAAAARY/5jhTkZ4oI6w/s1600/oliviacolmanbroadchurch.jpg1. Olivia Colman (Broadchurch)-

David Tennant’s bruised detective was an exciting character to follow through this small town mystery, but Colman’s Ellie Miller is really what gave the show it’s humanity. Playing a Detective Sergeant who’s recently back to work from maternity leave, Colman brings an authentic sense of lightness into a world where serious crimes hardly exist. Having to solve the murder of your best friend’s child is a harrowing job, and it was unnerving to watch Ellie discover the darker aspects of her town. Perhaps it’s because we felt like we were right there with her.



So what do you think of our list? Were we spot-on or dead wrong? Who are you hoping will get nominated for an Emmy this year? Sound off in the comments below, and be sure to check back here at The Filtered Lens for a full list of the nominees on Thursday.


By Mike Papirmeister

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