This is the best line-up I have seen in this category in a long time, and everyone of the 6 actors could be named a winner. These six men come from a variety of worlds, some as royalty in King's Landing, others attempting to be kings of DC. There are of course those who restraint tries to help keep calm within their world whether they be killers helping sell meth, or protectors of the news. This year is filled with some incredibly complex men who may be the support, but within their shows, but they were some of my favorite performances of the year.
Jonathan Banks as Mike Ehrmantraut in Breaking Bad
In previous seasons Mike was merely the hired gun, but once Gus went goodbye, and Walt started to run the show we got a deeper look into Mike. Banks quiet desperation as he tried to be a grandfather while avoiding being hauled into jail was incredibly well played. Yet in this very season this love able grandfather was terrorizing Laura Fraser's character, threatening her life and attempting to take her away from her daughter. Gilligan knew how to add layers to Mike, but it was Banks performance which sealed the deal.
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as Jaime Lannister in Game of Thrones
Tyrion aka Peter Dinklage always gets most of the credit for the acting chops in this show, and he he was close to making this list, but Nikolaj has knocked it out of the park as Jaime this season. Jaime went from being this monster who pushed a child out a window to someone giving a beautiful soliloquy while held captive, to Brienne. This shows Jaime's vulnerability more than ever. Jaime's connection with Brienne has not only brought the best in Jaime, but with Nikolaj's acting; he is cocky, but has shed that one note level creating a depth to his character that will jump into a bear pit. Nikolaj has had a great season.
Walton Goggins as Boyd Cowder in Justified
Boyd and Raylan (Timothy Olyphant) have one of the best dynamics on television, you want to route for the them both, but you just can't, the same way you can't route for Patrick Dempsey and Josh Lucas in Sweet Home Alabama. Boyd's battle to get Drew Thompson lead him and Ava down the rabbit hole and forced him to lose something so valuable to him. Watching boyd beaten down at the end of the season to the point of no return, the way he was as a child was some of the best acting. Goggins is a pro, and one hell of a scene stealer; he is one of the most under appreciated actors working in television.
Corey Stoll as Representative Peter Russo in House of Cards
One of the most complex roles of the 2012-2013 television season, while make talk about Francis Underwood, watching Corey Stoll tackle Peter Russo's decline is one of the most brilliant supporting performances ever. Peter is just a like able guy trying to right by his family, his constituents, while doing blow and succumbing to DC's political games. Watching the yo-yo effect of Petter Russo was brilliant, and thanks to Corey Stoll handled with great aplomb. Stoll hits the high and low notes with little effort; he makes you want Peter to succeed, you route for him because of Stoll's performance, and yet in the end you can't help but realize you knew outcome.
Mandy Patinkin as Saul Berenson in Homeland
How can you not love Saul; he is the rock of this show. Saul is there for Carrie when he needs her most, a surrogate father at work always look after her. Saul is an incredible character, and while some may miss the great acting, it's because Mandy Patinkin is that good. Patinkin's effortless style helps you to get lose in triumph of the creation of this character. Saul is a truly supporting character; he watches as things happen, but often is the one who provides that insightful wisdom. Watching Saul try bargain with the woman who was going to attempt a terrorist attack, was such a gut wrenching moment, realizing he was never going to succeed, and seeing the sorrow within his face, was all the proof Patinkin is the most under rated character in this show.
Sam Waterston as Charlie Skinner in The Newsroom
Charlie Skinner is the heart of this new Sorkin show, and was always my favorite part week after week. Charlie is a tough talking, whiskey drinking, old school television guy. Charlie believes the news has meaning, and he fights for Will (Jeff Daniels) and his team to put together the news the way it should be done, as actual news. Charlie reminds of me of the Leo McGarry type character, the wise friend to the central character. While he may be reminiscent of an old Sorkin archtype Charlie is brilliantly formed by Waterston's give em hell performance. Watching him fight Fiona (head of the network), or dealing with the change in the news cycle this man has been around for years, and Waterston plays him pitch perfect.
Runner Ups: Noah Emmerich-The Americans, Kevin Rahm-Mad Men, and Peter Dinklage-Game of Thrones