Giancarlo Esposito’s CCA win for Best Supporting Actor proves he is the best for villain roles

The recent 28th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards has been truly good to the folks who made Better Call Saul. At the awards ceremony, they won three out of the four nominations, including a well-deserved plum for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for Giancarlo Esposito.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – JANUARY 15: Giancarlo Esposito, winner of the Best Supporting Actor in a Drama Series for “Better Call Saul,” poses in the press room during the 28th Annual Critics Choice Awards at Fairmont Century Plaza on January 15, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Critics Choice Association)

As far as villainous anti-heroes go, Esposito’s performance as the blank-staring, cold-hearted cartel boss Gustavo Fring in BCS and its parent series Breaking Bad, has earned him not just critical nods but a beloved place in pop culture history. Both were AMC series helmed by showrunner Peter Gould.

Fring was the proprietor of the fast-food chain Los Pollos Hermanos in New Mexico. The restaurant was a front for his real profession as a powerful drug lord.

Giancarlo Esposito’s career expands beyond Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

In Breaking Bad Fring made a killing distributing Walter White’s and Jesse Pinkman’s high-caliber crystal blue methamphetamine. And on BCS he made Saul Goodman rich by retaining the smarmy attorney’s legal services to help his mules and cronies escape the law.

Esposito already won a CCA in 2012 for the same role Breaking Bad. It was also the same year he won an Emmy.

This year’s CCA victory for Esposito is further validation of the amazing thespian skills of the Denmark-born theater actor, the son of an Italian stagehand and an African American nightclub singer. Since his breakout role on Breaking Bad, Esposito has made a great career out of playing intense and layered villains that are both terrifying and admirable.

Aside from Fring, he’s famously played the main antagonist Moff Gideon in The Mandalorian, a series set in the Star Wars universe.

He has breathed life to main villain Anton Castillo on the videogame Far Cry 6, (a bad guy who also bears his likeness) and immortalized the character of Faraday on the popular Netflix animated series Cyberpunk: Edgerunners.

The three trophies for Better Call Saul at the Critic’s Choice Awards made it a true coup of finally getting what is deserved, ala the arc of the moral universe. Especially when the series won Best Drama.

Fans and critics have felt that it’s been long overdue, citing that the alleged snubs from major awards bodies throughout the show’s six seasons make it seem like it’s a curse or a conspiracy. With Esposito’s win, Odenkirk nabbing Best Actor in a Drama Series, and the series bagging Best Drama after around 60 nominations at multiple awards ceremonies, that curse has finally been broken.

What other roles did you like Esposito in?

You can watch five of the six seasons of Better Call Saul on Netflix.