Thursday, September 6, 2012

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Nominees are pictured and listed in alphabetical order. Submitted episode titles are in parentheses. Beware of minor spoilers for listed episodes.

Hugh Bonneville as Robert Crawley, Downton Abbey (Episode 7)
The star of the hit PBS import is actually the least showy and featured of the cast members. His nomination has more to do with the show’s overall popularity than his character or performance. That said, his episode submission, the show’s two-hour Christmas episode, does get to see him experience a whole variety of emotions. I still think the first-time Emmy nominee could only win if the show seriously swept, which is unlikely.

Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson, Boardwalk Empire (Two Boats and a Lifeguard)
Though he’s taken home a Golden Globe and two SAG Awards, Buscemi doesn’t stand much of a chance in this race. It’s all about his competition, of course, since he did submit excellently: an episode in which he cries, makes a dramatic career announcement, and shines in one memorable scene where he tells a joke involving the items from the episode’s title. In another year, and if his show still had as much buzz as it did last year, he could have taken this home.

Bryan Cranston as Walter White, Breaking Bad (Crawl Space)
Cranston has everything going for him at the moment. For one thing, he’s undefeated, winning each year for the first three seasons of the show, and he delivered his best performance yet in the show’s fourth season. Though the series took the 2010-2011 season off, it’s just as popular as ever now. He has one astounding scene at the end of his submitted episode in which he maniacally cackles in the crawl space of his home, and it’s definitely one of his best submissions yet.

Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan, Dexter (Nebraska)
It’s a wonder that Hall even got nominated this year given how his show was summarily dismissed from the Emmy nominations list. While he was on track to win two years ago for the show’s fourth season after picking up a Golden Globe and a SAG Award, he’s missed his opportunity now. The one thing he has going for him is that his selected episode includes characters from seasons one and four, but that’s not going to improve his chances at all.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Mad Men (The Other Woman)
It’s astounding to think that this show is in its fifth season and Hamm doesn’t yet have an Emmy. To emphasize that his submission is spectacular is moot at this point since it clearly hasn’t been enough to net him the award in the pas, but he is truly excellent as Don for once seems like the better man as he defends Joan’s honor in one of the season’s most memorable installments. He has as good a chance as he ever did.

Damian Lewis as Sergeant Nicholas Brody, Homeland (Marine One)
This first-time Emmy nominee was the star of last fall’s hottest show, and it’s hard to find someone who didn’t think his performance as an American prisoner of war with questionable loyalties wasn’t superb. As long as voters remember how awesome this show was, Lewis actually has a strong shot, but he’s got tough competition to face.

Who should win (based on entire season): Cranston or Lewis
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Buscemi, Cranston, Hamm, or Lewis
Who will win: It’s a tough race, but, in all likelihood, Cranston will win again. I’m not sure even Lewis has the necessary backing to take him down.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series


Unknown said...

I hate to admit it, but Cranston does seem tough to beat this year. It's not that I don't love Cranston's performance in Breaking Bad, it's just that the category is so consistently strong every year that it's a shame that he's the only one of these talented actors who has an Emmy (well, I personally think Hugh Bonneville sticks out like a sore thumb in this category, and I wouldn't want to honor this dreadful season of Dexter, as much as I love Michael C. Hall).

Honestly, I wish Jon Hamm had a showier episode. He's excellent in The Other Woman, but I feel that ultimately Christina Hendricks owns that episode and even Elisabeth Moss steals scenes away from Hamm. Man, I really want him to win, I feel he has deserved to win every year that Mad Men has been on, it's unfortunate he's always had to compete against Cranston (and Kyle Chandler last year, whom I was actually happy to see winning, he was also superb).

I also wouldn't mind a win for Damian Lewis. He is truly fantastic (and he has so much to do in his submitted episode, it's such a good showcase). Steve Buscemi is also pretty outstanding, even though I don't like Boardwalk Empire as much as many people seem to (I find the show incredibly distant most of the time). It's a strong category overall, and that's why it saddens me that Cranston always seems to be ahead, even though he may actually be the best in the category. I guess if Dennis Franz deserved four Emmys for NYPD Blue, or Helen Hunt for Mad About You, or John Larroquette for Night Court, there's no reason Bryan Cranston can't have four for this incredible character that is Walter White.

Movies with Abe said...

It's a very valid point - should Cranston keep winning if that means that Hamm never gets even one Emmy? This year should be very interesting since there are a handful of shows that could be quite popular. I'm disappointed most by the omission of Kelsey Grammer from "Boss" here, since I think he was terrific and the show was equally excellent. Lewis winning would be cool, mainly because I love that show and I'm worried that its buzz will be less than that of other shows like "Downton Abbey," which is pretty great, despite the fact that Bonneville didn't need to be in this category.

It's mainly just crazy that "Boardwalk Empire" and "Game of Thrones" stand no chance in this year's races - in any other year, they'd be way ahead.

Good to hear from you again!