Andrew Lincoln Brings The Walking Dead to Life

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Jason Wiese | Lindenlink Reporter

*Photo courtesy of http://www.comicmix.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/andrew-lincoln-as-rick-grimes-in-the-walking-dead1.jpeg.*

English actor Andrew Lincoln has received critical and commercial success from starring on cable network AMC’s The Walking Dead, which is currently in its third season. As Officer Rick Grimes, he devotes himself to leading his family and others to survive in a world where the undead walk and prey on the living.

The show has won Emmy awards for achievement in make-up and special effects two consecutive years as well as a Golden Globe nomination for Best Drama Series in 2010. However, the show has never received recognition for its acting talents, which has also featured Jon Bernthal, Sarah Wayne Callies, and fan favorite Norman Reedus. I believe that the actor who mostly deserves to be rewarded for the talent he lends to The Walking Dead is Lincoln.

Ever since the pilot episode, in which Lincoln’s Rick wakes up from a coma in an Atlanta hospital to find that the world that he once knew is gone, fans of Robert Kirkman’s Image comic book series, on which the show is based upon, knew that the perfect actor had been chosen to play the show’s beloved central character.

His Southern accent is so flawlessly convincing that those who are not familiar with Lincoln’s work before he was cast in The Walking Dead are always shocked to discover that he comes from England. Lincoln makes even the show’s subtlest moments, such as the scene in which he confronts his best friend, Shane, (Bernthal) about the conflicts that have affected their friendship and the rest of their group of survivors, just as exciting as its most pulse pounding walker (the name that the characters supplement for “zombie”) attacks or battles against enemies still living.

AMC has received stacks of awards for its other hit series Breaking Bad and Mad Men, which have both won Emmys for Best Drama Series. Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston has won Best Actor in a Drama Series twice in a row. As great as Cranston is on Bad, I cannot help but ponder why Lincoln has not yet received the same praise.

Despite The Walking Dead’s skyrocketing ratings (an episode this season that aired February 17, holds the all-time record of most watched episode of a cable series with 12.3 million viewers) and exceptional critical acclaim, The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences still has yet to catch on to the phenomenon that it has become.

Some may argue that The Walking Dead’s lack of awards is due to its gory violence and controversial subject matter. Yet, shows about ruthless mobsters, adulterous ad executives, and methamphetamine dealers practically have awards thrown at them. If anything, the only aspect of these shows that disconnects it from The Walking Dead is numbers, referring to ratings and fan base. In the demographic of men ages 18-49, it holds the record of most watched show on cable television in history.

Perhaps it is the show’s massive popularity that causes the Academy to shy away from its acting and creative talents. Of course, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rewarded the hit psychological horror thriller The Silence of the Lambs an Oscar for Best Picture in 1991, yet George A. Romero’s Dawn of the Dead, a film which critic Roger Ebert called “Superb”, did not receive the same treatment in 1978. The Academy should be able to see past the “zombie” ideologies of The Walking Dead and recognize its core purpose to exemplify the trials and tribulations of survival and its effects on human nature.

Andrew Lincoln puts his heart and soul into the character of Rick Grimes. He brings as much passion to showing his character’s emotional transitions as he does in more physically active scenes, in which he must go against the flesh eaters trying to tear his life apart… literally.

I have rarely seen an actor with such raw talent and one who can so easily immerse himself into a role that would be difficult to play, especially for a British actor. It may take a few more seasons, but if Andrew Lincoln does not receive a major award for his work by the time the series ends, release the apocalypse!