BY JULIE L
No. 2: Rami Malek as Elliot Alderson, Mr. Robot
The Role: In the aftermath of the global hack, Malek’s Elliot Alderson became stuck in a parallel reality localized entirely in his mind. Was he in prison or was he living in a state of constant paranoia? All the while he’s wrestling with his alternate persona, Mr. Robot. Played terrifically opposite Christian Slater, Malek was in a continued battle. Is Elliot’s mental health better without Mr. Robot or does embracing Mr. Robot maintain his sanity? Elliot has become one of the best original characters on TV and Malek perfectly captures the nuanced portrait of a lonely and alienated young man.
Why It’s One of 2016’s Best: Rami Malek beat the sophomore slump and proved he’s one of the most enthralling actors on television nowadays. He stunned us in his complex portrayal of a young man living with depression and social anxiety all the while running a vigilante hacker group in the first season of Mr. Robot on the USA Network. Not to mention his first Emmy win in September helped boost both him and the show’s profile. But his turn in the second season left us second guessing the true nature of his psyche.