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2012 Emmy Longshots: 'Once Upon a Time' Wild Card Robert Carlyle

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Jul 11, 2012 | 6:05am EDT

robert carlyleYou love them, we love them, and it's high time Emmy recognized them. We're talking about the TV actors and actresses who have yet to be recognized by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, despite drawing us in week in and week out with their awe-inspiring ability to make us laugh, cry, or a weird combination of both. So every day here at Hollywood.com, we're going to be saluting those on the small screen who deserve an Emmy nomination, longshot status be damned. Today, we cast our ballot for Once Upon a Time star Robert Carlyle.

When it comes to movies, television shows, or even fairytale stories, it's always easy for audiences to root for the good guy — the character who will inevitably triumph in the face of evil. But every so often a character will manage to straddle that line between good vs. evil, making viewers blindly guess where their actual loyalties lie. It's a difficult angle to pull off, but one that Robert Carlyle seems to do with flair.

At a glance, fans immediately want to label both Carlyle's characters — Rumpelstiltskin and Mr. Gold — as outright villains, given their scheming tendencies and ability to manipulate those around them. However, Carlyle doesn't make it so easy for us and forces viewers to sympathize with his back story (we're all suckers for those Lost-like flashbacks). Power has corrupted him, but it hasn't fully consumed him. We see his humanity in the way he loves Belle and misses his son, yet you can never really tell whose side he's really on. And if there's one thing audiences love, it's a challenge. Carlyle gives us something to dissect and continually propels the plot forward with his double-crossing antics. It's impossible to determine which side he's really on, which makes him all the more enthralling and a bit of a wild card. Basically, Carlyle has the uncanny ability to spin character development into gold. (Come on, you know I couldn't resist with that one).

But aside from his Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde turnarounds, Carlyle deserves some major credit for his ability to steal the spotlight from the rest of his cast members. When you're dealing with a vast array of fairytale legends — including the highly esteemed Snow White and Prince Charming — it's almost impossible to stand out in such stiff competition. But Carlyle manages with flying colors, making his on-screen time the most enjoyable to watch. I mean, love stories are all well and good, but they don't necessarily provide for many twist and turns. The writers may be the creators, but Carlyle brings it all to life, keeping the audience on their toes right up to the very last mischievous laugh.

Plus there's the fact that he's playing two very different characters. Yes, they're technically supposed to be the same individual, but the Rumpelstiltskin from the past and the Mr. Gold in the present are two very different people. One shows where he's going while the other shows where he's been and what led him to become the complex person we see in Storybrooke. Carlyle manages to keep them separate yet still subtly connected in a way that keeps audiences coming back for more.

As his characters have reminded us time and time again — all magic comes with a price. I think it's time that price weighed in the form of a nice, shiny Emmy. Let's give this wild card the love he truly deserves.

Follow Kelly on Twitter @KellyBean0415

Robert Carlyle Emmys Longshot

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