Michael K. Williams Never Got an Emmy for 'The Wire,' but 'Boardwalk Empire' Is His Second Chance

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Kelly Woo
·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
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The Emmy nominations voting has begun, and while we can predict some of the usual awards season favorites, we have a few of our own picks first-time nominees and under the radar picks alike — who deserve the honor this year. We're highlighting seven of those stars with video mash-ups of their best work, for your consideration.

Most actors are lucky to get to play one amazing role in their lives. Michael K. Williams has had two of them.

Williams first knocked us out as Omar Little in HBO's The Wire, the whistling stickup man who lived by his own code on the streets of Baltimore. He dished out devastatingly sharp quips while robbing drug dealers with a shotgun. If Omar was the only character Williams ever played, he'd belong in TV's hall of fame.

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And yet he's shown just how brilliant he is again on another HBO show, Boardwalk Empire. Williams's Chalky White didn't get nearly enough to do in the gangster drama's first three seasons, but he finally got to shine last fall in Season 4, taking his rightful place as a second lead alongside Steve Buscemi's Nucky Thompson.

With the arrival of smooth, suave, sly Valentin Narcisse (Jeffrey Wright) to Atlantic City, Chalky had to contend with a worthy and dangerous new enemy. After Chalky got involved with Narcisse's adopted chanteuse daughter, their simmering feud erupted into an all-out war. Their battle for supremacy in Atlantic City's African American community turned bloody — and terribly tragic. In the end, Chalky could stay, but he'd lost almost everything.

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Williams showed off his range like never before: He went from coldly businesslike to ardently loving to violently angry to achingly anguished. As Omar would say, "The game's out there and it's 'Play or get played.'" We saw Williams do both this season on Boardwalk Empire, and for that, he deserves his first Emmy nomination.

Watch our mash-up of some of his best moments of the season for further proof:

 

Click through this gallery to see all of our picks... and captions spoiler alert if you're not caught up on a particular show!

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