2005: Ian McShanw, “Deadwood” [WRONG]
2006: Kiefer Sutherland, “24” [CORRECT]
2007: James Gandolfini “The Sopranos” [WRONG]
2008: James Spader, “Boston Legal” [WRONG]
2009: Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” [CORRECT]
2010: Hugh Laurie, “House” [WRONG]
2011: Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” [WRONG]
2012: Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” [WRONG]
Now we’re off to one of the most highly contested categories at this year’s Emmy awards: Drama Actor in a Lead Series. Almost everyone here has a narrative going in for them, and this is already a busy category on its own despite Steve Buscemi missing for Boardwalk Empire and perennial nominee Michael C. Hall’s supposed sixth consecutive nod. Anyway, off to the nominees…
After picking up Globe and SAG nods earlier this year, Jeff Daniels received his first Emmy nomination for The Newsroom. And despite submitting the show’s pilot (which is probably his best shot, so kudos to him for doing so), it seemed that he’s one of those filler nods that deserves a nomination but you can rule out for the win. If anything, this is the best scenario that works for the concept of “the nomination is the reward.”
Surprisingly making it again for the second time, despite everyone (including yours truly) undermining his chances is Downton Abbey‘s Hugh Bonneville. Bonneville went with Episode 5 of the show’s third seasons, which is a breath of fresh air from his co-stars who went with the season opener. But then again, he’s such a non-factor in this race that it won’t even matter.
Then you have multiple nominee Jon Hamm. Despite multiple nods under his name, he still wasn’t able to snatch a golden Emmy of his own whether for his work here in Mad Men or his guesting stint on 30 Rock. For this year, he submitted the season ender In Care Of. Now with the announcement of Mad Men‘s final season being divided into two parts, this gives Hamm (and everyone else in the cast) two more shots to get nominated and give the show its first acting win. I just don’t see it happening this year.
Bryan Cranston aims to win his fourth Emmy for his role as Walter White for Breaking Bad. While it’s not wise to count him out of the conversation, winning the fourth Emmy is a harder feat than what it looks like. In this category’s history, only one performance managed to scoop up four Emmys for it. A lot of them came close such as James Gandolfini in The Sopranos, and James Spader in Boston Legal only to be defeated in their last time. Now I have no doubt that Bryan Cranston can easily tie it… but he’ll have to wait for next year I guess.
That leaves us with current winner Damian Lewis. His season might be uneven in general, but remember that when it comes to the Emmys, you only need one surefire episode to batch you that Emmy gold. And he clearly has one with Q&A. This is a very competitive episode that is tailor made to win an Emmy. And I have no doubt that this will not be put into waste, as Lewis is one of the two frontrunners this season.
Lastly, there’s two time Oscar winner Kevin Spacey. His first foray into television series is put into good fruition, as he instantly gets nominated for an Emmy for it. Spacey is no stranger with the Emmys since he has been nominated for 2008’s TV movie Recount, but this is his first shot to end up with one. Emmy voters also tend to be starstrucked with movie stars and Oscar winners, so that works well in his advantage. For this year, his only semi downside is submitting Episode 1 instead of his baitier tapes into the season. As Julianna Margulies proved in 2010, buzz can only take you so far and a winning tape can beat you in an instant.
All in all, I see this as a three way race among Bryan Cranston, Damian Lewis, and Kevin Spacey. I’m more dismissive of Cranston’s chances since it is more fitting to see him win is record tying one on the last season of the show next eligibility year. That leaves me choosing between Oscar winner Spacey and current winner Damian Lewis. This is where Spacey is at a disadvantage, since his tape pales in comparison. With that said, I’m going with Damian Lewis for a consecutive win too.
Prediction: Damian Lewis, “Homeland”
Runner-Up: Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
1. Damian Lewis, “Homeland”
2. Kevin Spacey, “House of Cards”
3. Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad”
4. Jon Hamm, “Mad Men”
5. Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom”
6. Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey”
You can see my other Emmy predictions in other categories here.
Meanwhile, you can also follow me on Twitter: @nikowl