It's almost like the battle of the veterans when it comes to the supporting actor categories of the 2012 Airlock Alpha Portal Awards -- probably because it is.
John Noble, who won Best Supporting Actor/Television last year for "Fringe," is back once again, up against a couple familiar names like Robert Carlyle and Saul Rubinek, but also facing some fresh challengers as well in the form of Arthur Darvill and Aidan Gillen.
Noble, of course, plays Dr. Walter Bishop in the popular Fox show, as well as his alter-ego, Walternate. But this past season, Noble had to do a little more than play two versions of one character -- he actually had to play four.
That's because Joshua Jackson's removal from the timeline reset some aspects of the show, permanently, thus giving us slightly altered versions of our friendly goofy Dr. Walter Bishop, and the somewhat evil Walternate. Talk about a tall order.
Noble wasn't the only actor taking on dual roles, however. Carlyle, who many fans remember from "Stargate: Universe," played both Mr. Gold and Rumpelstiltskin in ABC's hit new series "Once Upon a Time." While Rumpelstiltskin seemed a little too cartoonish at first, the more backstory we learned about this character through the course of the season, the more audiences couldn't wait to see what Carlyle would do next in the role.
One of Carlyle's primary features is the fact that he can play evil without really being evil. There is nothing dastardly about him -- you almost empathize a bit with his position, whether he is marooning a bunch of people on a starship in another galaxy, or wreaking havoc in Storybrooke.
While this won't be the last time Darvill is eligible for the Portal Awards through "Doctor Who," some might see this as his swan song since he and his co-star Karen Gillan will be off the show by the time we welcome Christmas.
Darvill was one of those characters we almost forgot about in Matt Smith's first episode, but one we have grown to love as the Lonely Centurion, waiting hundreds of years to save Amy Pond from the Pandorica. He has already died a number of times on "Doctor Who," so fans are really hoping that his last appearance won't be that as well.
Rubinek is just plain excellent on "Warehouse 13." He's serious, yet funny, and is a great straight-man to the antics of Pete and Myka as they go out and collect warehouse items. Because of the comedy in "Warehouse 13," it's easy to sometimes not take characters too seriously -- but you do, because the stories are amazing, and the actors are just as strong, continuing this as Syfy's highest-rated scripted show.
Finally, we have a newcomer in Best Supporting Actor in the form of Gillen, who plays the sinister brothel owner Petyr Baelish in HBO's "Game of Thrones." Baelish makes it clear that no one should trust him, yet people do it anyway, with a shit-eating grin that many fans want to punch. Yet, if you pull up his bio page on Internet Movie Database, you see a much softer side of Gillen with a small kitten on his shoulder.
We know that Gillen would love and adore such an animal. But Littlefinger? he'd probably eat it for lunch.
Gillen has some company from "Game of Thrones" in the Best Supporting Actress/Television category with both Michelle Fairley and Maisie Williams getting nods.
Fairley, who had a small role in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1" as Mrs. Granger, plays a much meatier role of the widow Catelyn Stark. She has already lost her husband to a beheading by King Joffrey in the first season, and is now trying to bring her children back together. Her one son, Robb, is now King of the North, while her younger children are believed dead. Her two daughters are on divergent tracks, one -- Sansa -- who was originally set up to marry King Joffrey, and the other on the run, trying to get back into her mother's arms (as a boy).
That younger daughter who escaped death more than once is none other than Williams, a 15-year-old actress who throws gender roles out the window. She is a strong woman among strong women in the series, even if her primary role in the second season was as a boy. But she is able to outsmart those around here, and actually live and work right under the nose of the people who are trying to find her in the first place.
Competing against these two is Jessica Lange, who had a Golden Globe-winning performance as Constance Langdon in "American Horror Story," the older southern woman who seemed to know everything about the Murder House that no one else did. Lange's role was just pure delicious, and you couldn't wait for her to take the screen. And now she gets to take on a whole new character when "American Horror Story" returns for its second season.
Lana Parilla is getting a well-deserved nod from "Once Upon a Time," where she plays not only the Wicked Witch, but the mayor of Storybrooke, Regina Mills. Like Mr. Gold, her soon-to-be-nemesis, you really can't hate Regina, even when you find out she retains all her memories as the witch who exiled the storybook characters in the first place.
One thing is for sure, she does have a heart, even if she is busy stealing everyone else's, and you almost feel the pain she has to endure every day.
Finally, we get a great familiar face in the Best Supporting category in Allison Scagliotti from "Warehouse 13." Here is someone who plays a character that is very much like Scagliotti herself -- smart, strong, a lover of great music, and extremely stylish. Scagliotti is always great with the fans, and those fans always look to see how she's going to save Artie's butt week in and week out.
Williams is not just up for Best Supporting Actress, but she's also in the Best Young Actor category, nominated with one of television's most hated characters, King Joffrey. Well, not Joffrey, but the talented young man who plays him -- Jack Gleeson. Believe it or not, this Irish actor -- who many of us saw for the first time in "Batman Begins" -- is actually 20 years old! That's right, he only has a couple more years of eligibility left in this category.
Yet, how can people not give him some votes, if not most of them. We all love hating Joffrey, and Gleeson plays him with a zeal that you don't see in a lot of young actors.
Taissa Farmiga is also up for "American Horror Story" where she played the daughter of the Murder House, Violet Harmon, who falls in love with a bad boy, and ends up becoming a part of the house herself. Believe it or not, Farmiga was not even going to get into acting. It was her sister, actress Vera Farmiga, that got her excited about the industry, and we couldn't keep our eyes off her in "American Horror Story."
Connor Jessup earns a nod for "Falling Skies," playing son Ben Mason who was captured by the Skitters before the series started, and who Noah Wyle's father character spent a good number of episodes trying to rescue. While much of the young cast is asked to play far older than they are in this series, Jessup had is own challenges, creating a character that was once controlled by an alien species -- and who hasn't quite shaken that control quite yet.
Finally, David Mazouz has been nominated for the first time for the Fox freshman series "Touch," which also stars Kiefer Sutherland. Mazouz is just 11, but has already started to build a resume that includes Bert California in "The Office," and episodes of "Mike & Molly," "Private Practice" and "Criminal Minds."
Keep reading Airlock Alpha over the next few days as we highlight more of this year's nominees for the 2012 Airlock Alpha Portal Awards. And don't forget, voting starts June 25 right here!
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