Thanks to 50 Shades of Grey, everyone knows his name — but Christian Grey and his red room are nothing compared to the brilliant work he does on the BBC/Netflix series The Fall as serial killer Paul Spector. Will Jamie Dornan get an Emmy for The Fall though? In its second season, The Fall gave Dornan even meatier material to sink his teeth into, not to mention the chance to work one on one with Gillian Anderson as her Detective Stella Gibson finally caught up with Paul. Their tense conversation in the Season 2 finale was one of TV's great showdowns... but is it enough to earn Dornan some Emmy love?
Dornan's name was thrown into the ring for a Lead Actor in a Drama Series category, which is a notoriously crowded one — even with Bryan Cranston's Walter White out of contention. Of the 2014 Lead Actor in a Drama Series nominees, only three are eligible to be nominated again in 2015: Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), and Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom). Even with Cranston and the men of True Detective gone, there are plenty of actors in line for a nomination after a big year, including Terrence Howard (Empire), Kyle Chandler (Bloodline), Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), and Dominic West (The Affair). Dornan may not have a resume as meaty as those actors happen to, but thanks to his big screen turn, Emmy voters are going to know his name, making him a potential dark horse candidate.
While the odds of Dornan scoring a nomination are low, it would be well-deserved. Paul is a complex character. He is without a doubt a bad man and a killer — and a good one at that — but he's also a family man. Watching Dornan take Paul between these extremes is always crazy to see, and as the lines between his two lives blurred in Season 2 until they were indistinguishable, Dornan rose to the occasion. The Fall's dark dance between Paul and Stella was one of the best cat and mouse games ever told on television — and the best part was, there was no way to be certain who was the cat and who was the mouse. To pull off a character like Paul, an actor has to have serious skills.
There is no doubt in my mind that Dornan deserves this nomination. As Paul, Dornan has to make every lie sound smooth, and every action full of portents. He has to scare the audience, and still be the leading man of the piece. Despite how complicated this sounds all put together, he does it with an unfathomable ease.
It would be a wonderful surprise to see Dornan's name called when the 2015 Emmy nominations are announced on Thursday, July 16. Even if the voters only tick the box next to Dornan's name because he's a Hollywood up and comer, his performance in The Fall is so stunning and twisted no TV fan could say the nomination wasn't deserved.
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