And the best actor on Game of Thrones Season 5 is…


…Stephen Dillane as Stannis Baratheon, gods rest his soul.

Or not. After all, Stannis did some reprehensible things this year, but from a performance perspective, they were a godsend. Dillane had always been good, but getting to explore Stannis’ darker dimensions gave him a chance to really stretch his acting muscles. His performance as a haunted man driven to decisions he never thought he would have to make was gripping, and it justly snagged him the win.

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The variety of material in Game of Thrones Season 5 allowed Dillane to make the most of his gifts. He showed off his tender side in “Sons of the Harpy” when he bonded with his daughter, displayed a flair for bone-dry comedy in “Kill the Boy” when he corrected a Night’s Watchman’s grammar, and finally tumbled into moral despair in “The Dance of Dragons” and “Mother’s Mercy” when he ritually sacrificed his daughter in what ended up being a fruitless attempt to claim the crown. His ultimate downfall was a bit rushed, but this was still a full, rich arc, and Dillane finally got to show the world what a subtle, intense performer he was.

Dillane got some heated competition from the likes of Kit Harington, Alfie Allen, and Peter Dinklage. Harington, who got some great scenes to play during his final (?) year on the show, came closest to unseating him. Commenter Aws singled out Harington’s physical performance as a reason his Season 5 arc was so effective.

"He’s also such a great physical actor. I think the ability to use ones body to give a performance is rather underrated when it comes to appreciating acting talent. Everybody focuses on the face and how well an actor portrays emotion, which is no doubt important. But if you can do that AND sword-fight like a pro AND really sell exhaustion and physical pain in a way that doesn’t feel overdone AND endure harsh conditions in extreme locations, etc… Well that’s significantly more impressive to me than just conveying emotion, which any good actor does."

Also, while this poll got more votes than any of our previous ones, it was the first one this year for which some options received no votes at all. Better luck next year, DeObia Oparai, Dominic Carter, Reese Noi, and Toby Sebastian. Well, I guess it’s no use wishing Carter and Noi luck, since they’re characters are dead. Thanks for playing!

Join us again this Friday, when the focus will shift from actors to actresses as the WiC Awards season continues.

Next: Natalie Dormer: Margaery Tyrell is a Westerosi Kardashian