Yvonne Strahovski - The Handmaid's Tale
Somehow, Yvonne Strahovski took one of the most vile women in Serena Joy Waterford and allowed you to feel conflicted over her fate. Although Serena Joy was at the root of all of Gilead's problems, she also found herself falling victim to the very rules she set in place, and Strahovski played the two sides of that conundrum with a surprising grace.
Sissy Spacek - Castle Rock
Ruth Deaver has lived all her life in a town whose trademark is a tragedy and who survived emotional abuse in her marriage only to develop dementia just when she is finally free to love a good man. Spacek takes what could’ve been a pitiable, fading character and imbues her with spark and intelligence and humor. She is spotlighted In Castle Rock Season 1 Episode 7, “The Queen,” where the audience experiences her world from her perspective — out of chronological order, unreliable in perception, and where the past never dies but the future is always at risk. Her final scene, flinging herself into the loving embrace of Alan Pangborn after seeing him die in her arms the night before, truly conveyed the desperate need to cling to the happiest reality possible.
Penn Badgley- YOU
Penn Badgley's performance is positively thrilling. He's so creepy it's seductive. He has the most riveting performance on the series, and the series could have quite the same allure without him.
James Roday - A Million Little Things
James Roday is so often associated with comedic roles that his role as Gary makes him a particular standout on the series. He has the perfect combination of fantastic comedic timing and restraint during serious moments.
Justin Hartley - This Is Us
Justin Hartley has had some very weighty storylines but his character has, as The Is Us Season 2 Episode 11 declared him, always been the fifth wheel. Not only has Hartley been consistently overlooked in favor of Brown and Ventimiglia, but his character isn't taken as seriously. Hartley has proven time and again he's of the same caliber of his co-stars and deserves as much recognition as Kevin Pearson does attention in the family.
D'arcy Carden - The Good Place
D'arcy Carden is so incredibly underrated. She's always been fantastic, but her performance in "Janet(s)" when she plays every character so perfectly that there's never any doubt which one she's portraying was easily one of the best performances of the year.