SFX editor-in-chief Dave Bradley’s vote for Best Actor goes to Fringe’s John Noble – both of him
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Fringe took a season or two to get into its stride as the best sci-fi show on telly. But one thing was perfect from the very first episode – Walter, played by John Noble.
By turns tortured, frenetic, barmy, repentant, child-like, intense, whimsical or just plain odd, Walter is the soul of the show – he’s the character who initiated the universe-intersecting misfortune and is arguably the only person who can fix it. John Noble steals scene after scene with his dancing and his non-sequiturs about food or slushies. But Walter is more than just a collection of quirks and mannerisms. In the last year we’ve seen him, as a younger man, quietly confront Olivia’s abusive stepfather (“Subject 13”) and later become haunted by visions of his son-that-never-was (season four) – you can’t fail to be moved.
John Noble’s considerable acting talents don’t stop there. Season three also saw him portray Walternate, the Walter from the other side, demonstrating that he can also show us a sinister and determined side. Whether it’s holding Olivia captive and planning to sacrifice her body so that Fauxlivia can cross between worlds (“Entrada”), swiping a sample of his own grandson’s blood to create a DNA-based serum (“6:02 AM EST”) or shooting his daughter-in-law in the head in a vision of 2026 (“The Day We Died”), this uncompromising version of Daddy Bishop walks a different path. It’s a testament to Noble’s skills that both versions of the same man don’t just have different objectives, but also walk a little differently, talk a little differently and exude an aura unique to the experiences that shaped their universe. And we continue to empathise with both Walter and Walternate, despite their mistakes.
All good reasons why John Noble is worthy of your vote for Best Actor this year.