Critics' Take: Picture-Perfect Performances by Emmy-Nominated Supporting Actors

11:00 AM 8/21/2020

by Daniel Fienberg and Inkoo Kang

THR’s TV critics highlight their top picks such as Mahershala Ali and Billy Crudup in the supporting actor categories.

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  • Mahershala Ali

    The two-time Oscar winner lent a presence all his own as Sheikh Ali Malik, an imam who mentors the title character but doesn’t want him courting his daughter. Magnetic, mysterious and just a tad too trusting, Sheikh Ali Malik reveals his aching human side when Ramy ultimately betrays him.

  • Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

    How do you play a dispassionate, godlike superhero while at the same time portraying a passionate love interest to the always-great Regina King? This was Abdul-Mateen II’s task, and in the "A God Walks Into Abar" episode, he gets to play every contradiction of his dual role.

  • D'Arcy Carden

    Playing a person? How pedestrian. For four seasons, Carden portrayed Janet, a nonhuman, non-robot Google of the afterlife who fell in love for the first time. How do you play all that and stand out as a comic highlight in a cast of TV veterans? Somehow Carden made it look easy.

  • Billy Crudup

    Crudup’s network boss doesn’t always feel like he’s in the same show as the rest of the cast, but his show feels like it’s funnier and more wickedly pragmatic. His performance is a mixture of off-kilter line readings, knowing smirks and, best of all, a duet of “Not While I’m Around” with Jennifer Aniston.

  • Sarah Snook

    There are times Shiv feels like the only sane member of the Roy family, but Snook rarely lets us forget that beneath TV’s most emulated haircut since The Rachel there’s an ambitious woman who’s every bit as coldhearted as her siblings. She just does the back-stabbing with more polish.

  • Tracey Ullman

    The comedian stole every scene as the righteous but resentful Betty Friedan, whose heyday in feminism’s Second Wave had come and gone. Her debate against Cate Blanchett’s Phyllis Schlafly — which ends in one snarl too many from Friedan — was an acting master class in a series full of them.