Sunday, September 15, 2013
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 5)
I was surprised that Bonneville returned as a nominee after his show dominated all of the acting categories last year since he is one of the show’s least energetic players. That said, he is the family patriarch, and in his submitted episode, he has to cope with a devastating event for which he is partially to blame. He’s not its most dynamic part, but it’s still a decent showcase that could get him a few votes, though he’s unlikely to upstage any of the other nominees in this category
Bryan Cranston as Walter White, Breaking Bad (Say My Name)
Cranston took this award home three years in a row and then lost for the first time last year with another terrific submission. His show is coming to an end just a few weeks after Emmy night, so he’s going to be red-hot. His season five submission – the penultimate episode – is just as good as any other, and he has more than one superb scene to showcase his abilities in his interactions with Mike and Jesse. He definitely has a good shot at taking home Emmy number four.
Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, The Newsroom (We Just Decided To)
Daniels in a newcomer to this category for HBO’s ensemble drama, which wrapped its second season this month. The show underperformed in a big way on nominations day, and that hurts Daniels’ chances considerably. His submission, on the other hand, is spot-on, since it gives him the chance to have an on-air meltdown in the show’s pilot. I don’t think he’s popular enough to win as the only nominee in this category whose show is not recognized in the Best Drama Series category.
Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Mad Men (In Care Of)
I wrote last year that it was hard to believe that, five years in, Hamm still didn’t have an Emmy. That’s still true one year later, despite a strong submission last year. His character does descend to mesmerizing new depths in the season six finale, publicly discussing things he’s never before said out loud to a group of people. I see no reason why he’d win now since he hasn’t before, but it would be hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve it.
Damian Lewis as Sergeant Nicholas Brody, Homeland (Q and A)
I didn’t have much faith in Lewis to win this last year for his layered performance as a prisoner of war who returns to the U.S. with mixed allegiances. That he did is an enormous testament to the popularity of his show, which netted Lewis a Golden Globe for his work in the show’s second season. To avoid too many spoilers, I’ll only say that Lewis’ character encounters his most difficult situation yet in his submitted episode, which makes a good case for him to repeat.
Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, House of Cards (Chapter 1)
Spacey’s presence in this category might alone be enough to win him the Emmy. Though he lost in the miniseries category when he was nominated several years ago for “Recount,” he has a much showier role here, and in the groundbreaking Netflix drama’s first episode, he lets his true soul be seen when he plots revenge after failing to get a major appointment from the President. I think this is his to lose – he’s too big a name and his role is all too juicy.
Who should win (based on entire season): Lewis or Cranston
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Lewis or Hamm
Who will win: Either of the previous winners – Lewis or Cranston – could repeat, but I think this is going to Spacey for sure.
Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series