Bobby Cannavale knows how much luck it takes to establish a successful acting career.

He had no expectation of taking the supporting drama actor trophy for “Boardwalk Empire” against such high-wattage competition as Aaron Paul of “Breaking Bad” and Mandy Patinkin of “Homeland.”

Sounding very much like the street-wise character he played on the HBO period drama, Cannavale said of acting: “This is a hustle, man. I’ve gotten some good opportunities and gotten lucky…It’s the only thing I wanted to do.”

Cannavale segued from “Boardwalk” to a regular role on Showtime’s “Nurse Jackie.” Like so many thesps, he noted that cable TV is the place for adult fare these days.

“I lucked out I hit it at the right time,” he said. “I could be doing another season of Actors Theater in Louisville.”

It took what felt like a long time for him to process the fact that his name was called in his category. It felt like slow motion, until he caught sight of his card-playing buddy, Jon Hamm, giving him a big thumbs up.

“I was really just shocked,” he said.