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Face Off: Bryan Cranston vs. Peter Dinklage

May. 15, 2014by: Dave Davis
Last week's Face-Off column put a pair of hairy comedic actors against each other, and more of you agreed that Seth Rogen deserved the title over Zach Galifianakis.

This weekend has the king of the monsters stomping his way back to theaters in GODZILLA, featuring Bryan Cranston as one of the humans underfoot. Let's try putting Cranston up against Peter Dinklage, another reliable actor with recent recognition for his powerful TV work (as well as a huge summer release, next week's X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST).

(Please note: Face Off is an opinion column. We're not using any actual science to prove or disprove anything. It's just for fun.)
EARLY WORK
Cranston made countless appearances on TV shows (including "CHiPS", "Airwolf", "Murder She Wrote", "Baywatch", "The Flash", "L.A. Law", "Matlock", "Hill Street Blues", "Babylon 5" and "The X-Files") , popped up in various made-for-TV films and B-movies, and did voice work dubbing a number of anime movies (and a couple episodes of "Mighty Morphin Power Rangers")
Dinklage's first major role was playing an irritable dwarf actor in the well-received indie comedy LIVING IN OBLIVION, followed by some minor TV work, the Sam Rockwell crime comedy SAFE MEN, and the oddball Michel Gondry comedy HUMAN NATURE
BREAKTHROUGH
While some may first remember him as Seinfeld's dentist on that hit 90s show or as astronaut Buzz Aldrin in HBO's "From the Earth to the Moon", it was starring on seven seasons of Fox's sitcom "Malcolm in the Middle" that put Cranston in the spotlight
Dinklage got his first taste of acclaim as the sensitive train-loving outcast in the indie drama THE STATION AGENT
THE BIG TV ROLE
On the brilliant "Breaking Bad", Cranston shows just how far a man will go for his family when chemistry teacher Walter White turns to manufacturing crystal meth as a means to secure his family's finances before lung cancer can take him. Unsurprisingly that doesn't go according to plan, and Walter slowly transforms from caring father to power-hungry drug kingpin
As "the Imp" Tyrion Lannister on HBO's sprawling fantasy "Game of Thrones", Dinklage breathes life into author George RR Martin's mischievous and witty character in a way that nobody else possibly could, which he continually demonstrates with his praise-worthy performance (they may as well set aside his awards now for his work in this season's trial)
BEING SILLY
Aside from "Malcolm in the Middle", Cranston has spread himself pretty equally between TV dramas and comedies, with roles on "How I Met Your Mother", "The King of Queens", "3rd Rock from the Sun" and "30 Rock", not to mention voice work on "Archer", "The Simpsons", "Robot Chicken", "Family Guy" and "Clerks: The Animated Series" (he's also been behind the camera directing episodes of "The Office" and "Modern Family").
Dinklage appeared in the underappreciated comedy THE BAXTER , the Aussie romcom I LOVE YOU TOO, and two versions of DEATH AT A FUNERAL (the British original and the Chris Rock remake). He also slapped around Will Ferrell in ELF, played a one-eyed tabloid reporter in the strange pigface-girl comedy PENELOPE, tried to get back his stolen dog in PETE SMALLS IS DEAD, offered his voice as the villain of ICE AGE: CONTINENTAL DRIFT, portrayed villain Simon Barsinister in the regrettable live-action UNDERDOG, fought demons in the barely-released LARP comedy KNIGHTS OF BADASSDOM, and showed up on episodes of "Entourage" (as himself) and "30 Rock"
GETTING SERIOUS
Cranston showed up as a one-armed colonel in SAVING PRIVATE RYAN, and while he was busy on TV during most of the 2000s, recently he's been showing up in loads of movies and keeping it serious on the big screen: he investigated a murder in THE LINCOLN LAWYER, fixed cars and got in trouble in DRIVE, tried to stop the deadly virus in Steven Soderbergh's CONTAGION, menaced Colin Farrell in the unfortunate TOTAL RECALL remake, briefly popped up in RED TAILS and JOHN CARTER, and helped get hostages out of Tehran in ARGO
Dinklage played a womanizing mathematician on the short-lived alien-invasion show "Threshold", had a recurring role on "Nip/Tuck", reunited with LIVING IN OBLIVION co-star Steve Buscemi in SAINT JOHN OF LAS VEGAS, visited a fantasy realm as cynical dwarf Trumpkin in NARNIA: PRINCE CASPIAN, and tried to help Vin Diesel's defense in FIND ME GUILTY

And although it sounds like a parody, TIPTOES is actually a serious romantic drama in which Matthew McConaughey plays a dwarf (full-sized) whose twin brother is Gary Oldman (dwarfed). In addition to Dinklage, the film also features Kate Beckinsale and Patricia Arquette
MAJOR AWARD RECOGNITION
-Golden Globe winner (on his fifth nomination) for "Breaking Bad"

-Three time Emmy winner (out of six nominations) for "Breaking Bad"

-Two time Screen Actors Guild Awards winner (out of five nominations) for "Breaking Bad", winner for ARGO (as part of best drama ensemble)
-Golden Globe winner for "Game of Thrones"

-Emmy winner (out of three nominations) for "Game of Thrones"

-Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations for "Game of Thrones" and THE STATION AGENT
BRYAN CRANSTON
This would almost be a dead heat if only their esteemed TV roles were under consideration -- Dinklage's passionate performance as the wry, belittled hedonist on "Game of Thrones" is nearly as memorable as Cranston's unforgettably riveting turn to the dark side over the course of "Breaking Bad". And while both actors can effectively go for laughs or the drama, and their futures undoubtedly hold more interesting opportunities that will benefit us viewers, Cranston has been at this longer and just has a bit more already under his belt.

Agree? Disagree? Which do you prefer?
POST YOUR CHOICE BELOW!

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1:47PM on 05/15/2014

Bryan.

Peter's perfomance in G.O.T. is great, but Bryan created a freaking TV icon! Also, he has shown much more variety in other projects. Although, to be fair, Peter may have been typecasted because of his size.
Peter's perfomance in G.O.T. is great, but Bryan created a freaking TV icon! Also, he has shown much more variety in other projects. Although, to be fair, Peter may have been typecasted because of his size.
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11:54AM on 05/15/2014
I'd take Dinklage any day. Better actor.
I'd take Dinklage any day. Better actor.
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11:23AM on 05/15/2014

Good Face Off

I would say that Bryan Cranston does inch ahead in this one. But only because his character arc in Breaking Bad was one of the greatest things that I have ever seen on TV, and theres just more of it at this point. Peter Dinklage is almost equally as amazing, and he is brilliant with his well written Tyrion, but we only have 4 seasons of that at this point, and his character may only be in 2-4 scenes an episode. BUT, I say revisit this Face Off in 5-10 years, and its possible that we have
I would say that Bryan Cranston does inch ahead in this one. But only because his character arc in Breaking Bad was one of the greatest things that I have ever seen on TV, and theres just more of it at this point. Peter Dinklage is almost equally as amazing, and he is brilliant with his well written Tyrion, but we only have 4 seasons of that at this point, and his character may only be in 2-4 scenes an episode. BUT, I say revisit this Face Off in 5-10 years, and its possible that we have different results.
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10:14AM on 05/16/2014
I agree. Walter White is simply too epic a character not to have win this.
I agree. Walter White is simply too epic a character not to have win this.
+1
11:15AM on 05/15/2014

Bryan Cranston

Although I am a huge fan of Dinklage, Bryan Cranston is simply one of the most chamaleonic actors I've seen (from Malcolm and Seinfeld to BB!!). I hope that both of them will have better movie careers, and why not.. Oscar??
Although I am a huge fan of Dinklage, Bryan Cranston is simply one of the most chamaleonic actors I've seen (from Malcolm and Seinfeld to BB!!). I hope that both of them will have better movie careers, and why not.. Oscar??
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10:14AM on 05/15/2014
p.s author of this article ..you forgot Malcolm in the middle the only show I recognized Cranston from
p.s author of this article ..you forgot Malcolm in the middle the only show I recognized Cranston from
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11:44AM on 05/15/2014
It's his Breakthrough
It's his Breakthrough
10:06AM on 05/15/2014
No comparison.
But I'll have to lean towards Drinklage for his role as Tyrion.
No comparison.
But I'll have to lean towards Drinklage for his role as Tyrion.
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9:40AM on 05/15/2014
I loved BrBd and never really dig Game of Thrones. So obviously Cranston is the winner here. But in terms of the upcoming movies with this two great actors, X-Men will kick Godzilla's ass!
I loved BrBd and never really dig Game of Thrones. So obviously Cranston is the winner here. But in terms of the upcoming movies with this two great actors, X-Men will kick Godzilla's ass!
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9:36AM on 05/15/2014
True Detective Season 2. *drops microphone*
True Detective Season 2. *drops microphone*
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8:32AM on 05/15/2014

Bryan Cranston.

Both are two of the best actors working today in films and on television and both have given consistent quality to everything they're apart of, but if I had to pick one I would have to go with Bryan Cranston. What he did with his character on Breaking Bad was just brilliant and will forever be one of the most commanding performances of all time, movies or television.

And I've been loving his 'resurrection' to more high profile films like Argo, Drive, and most recently Godzilla.

Dinklage
Both are two of the best actors working today in films and on television and both have given consistent quality to everything they're apart of, but if I had to pick one I would have to go with Bryan Cranston. What he did with his character on Breaking Bad was just brilliant and will forever be one of the most commanding performances of all time, movies or television.

And I've been loving his 'resurrection' to more high profile films like Argo, Drive, and most recently Godzilla.

Dinklage is still a force to be reckoned with though. He is argurably the best actor working on television today and just commands the screen, despite his small stature. Can wait to see his own in Days of Future Past.
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7:51AM on 05/15/2014

I respect actors like these two guys

They didn't find instant success, they aren't typical Hollywood handsome, and have had to work their asses off to be where they are today. They let their work speak for them and that is the only thing you can ask an actor to do. Both are exceptional actors and bring so much to their individual shows. I am going with a tie today.
They didn't find instant success, they aren't typical Hollywood handsome, and have had to work their asses off to be where they are today. They let their work speak for them and that is the only thing you can ask an actor to do. Both are exceptional actors and bring so much to their individual shows. I am going with a tie today.
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3:32AM on 05/15/2014
You forgot about movies and their critical and boxoffice success, because Peter would have him crashed him in that category.
You forgot about movies and their critical and boxoffice success, because Peter would have him crashed him in that category.
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8:58AM on 05/17/2014
Idk why you think that. I don't know the exact profits, but there's no reason to think that Dinklage would crash him, or even when. He certainly might, but it looks pretty close.
Idk why you think that. I don't know the exact profits, but there's no reason to think that Dinklage would crash him, or even when. He certainly might, but it looks pretty close.
2:15AM on 05/15/2014
Bryan Cranston. Dinklage is an awesome actor, but Cranston's role in BB was simply mesmerizing... unlike anything on TV.
Bryan Cranston. Dinklage is an awesome actor, but Cranston's role in BB was simply mesmerizing... unlike anything on TV.
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2:09AM on 05/15/2014
I'm going with Cranston as well. It's a lot of fun to track his career from appearances in shows like Baywatch, to Malcolm in the Middle, to Breaking Bad, through to movies like Godzilla. Peter Dinklage has done absolutely solid work too. He completely commands in the screen in DOFP.
I'm going with Cranston as well. It's a lot of fun to track his career from appearances in shows like Baywatch, to Malcolm in the Middle, to Breaking Bad, through to movies like Godzilla. Peter Dinklage has done absolutely solid work too. He completely commands in the screen in DOFP.
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