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Face Off: Bryan Cranston vs. Peter Dinklage

05.15.2014by: 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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