Tonight will bring us the 2013 Emmy awards, and while we have our pom-poms out rooting for Peter Dinklage to take home the prize, we can't help but regret the fact that Nikolaj Coster-Waldau isn't in the running. Because as far as we're concerned, he's really the most outstanding supporting actor of the season.
Why? Preferring Nikolaj over Peter Dinklage is not a comment on Peter's performance (which was top notch, as always), but Nikolaj's. If last season belonged to Tyrion, this season was Jaime's, and Nikolaj took the gift he was given and ran with it. He had more to work with, and he knocked it out of the park. Here are three reasons the Emmys overlooking him was a travesty.
A strong arc masterfully handled. Nothing shows off acting chops quite like a really good character arc, and Jaime's transformation from cocky captive to despairing cripple to man reborn was a great arc indeed. Nikolaj handled the changes skillfully, managing to bring out the humanity in Jaime's early, boasting scenes, and weaving bits and pieces of that old bluster through his transformation post-loss of hand. Jaime has clearly been altered in fundamental ways, but he felt like the same person every step of the way.
Humor and pathos. Like Peter Dinklage as Tyrion, Nikolaj has the benefit of playing one of the few Game of Thrones characters you can count on for a laugh. His comedic timing — and especially his comedic chemistry with Gwendoline Christie as Brienne — is as fantastic as his most dramatic moments, which is always a tough (and essential!) balance to pull off, especially on a show as dark as Game of Thrones.
The bath scene. Best for last. The epic bath scene where Jaime explained the origins of the Kingslayer name was a make or break moment for the character. It's a pivotal scene in the book series, and it was given equal importance on the show. While the speech Jaime gave was well written to begin with, the scene really hinged on Nikolaj's ability to make Jaime's account of his past believable, emotionally affecting, and riveting. He killed it — we get chills every time we re-watch. It was unquestionably one of the best acting moments on any show all year, and for that achievement alone he deserves recognition.
Not convinced? Just watch the scene again.
Do you think Nikolaj deserved an Emmy nom this year? Sound off in the comments below.
Rebecca Martin is an editor at Wetpaint Entertainment. Follow her on Twitter @BeccaDMartin.