Thursday, September 17, 2015

AFT Awards: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series

This is the first category of the 9th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2014-2015 seasons. Finalists and semi-finalists are included to recognize more of the impressive work done on television today. Nominees are pictured in the order I’ve ranked them.

Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Last year’s nominees: Demian Bichir, Bryan Cranston, Jon Hamm, Liev Schreiber, Kevin Spacey

Emmy nominees: Kyle Chandler, Jeff Daniels, Jon Hamm, Bob Odenkirk, Liev Schreiber, Kevin Spacey

Semi-finalists: Aden Young (Rectify), Anson Mount (Hell on Wheels), Antony Starr (Banshee), Dominic West (The Affair), Jason Mamoa (The Red Road), Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom), Joel Kinnaman (The Killing), Jonny Lee Miller (Elementary), Martin Henderson (The Red Road)

Finalists: Timothy Olyphant (Justified) was even more sly and subdued than ever as a lawman who was never all that concerned with the law but still had his job to do. Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) got what he always wanted and found it wasn’t all smooth sailing, and watching him try to maintain control was blisteringly engaging. Jon Hamm (Mad Men) closed out an advertising legend as Don Draper drifted further away from society and everything that he did to make himself famous. Charlie Hunnam (Sons of Anarchy) recognized his role in the club and prepared to take full responsibility for its direction in a heartfelt goodbye to his character and show. Aaron Stanford (12 Monkeys) made his mission-driven time hopper a spirited, sarcastic champion for the vital importance of his every moment.

The nominees:

Justin Theroux (The Leftovers) was intense, passionate, and deeply disturbed as a man trying to stay in charge in an increasingly unreliable world. Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) expanded upon a supporting character from another show and made Jimmy a layered and utterly watchable protagonist. Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) continued fixing problems for others around him as his own world came crashing down. Demian Bichir (The Bridge) got in very deep as the lines between good and bad crossed, and his goodhearted cop was still a picture of nobility.

The winner:

Grant Gustin (The Flash) was bubbly, full of energy, and so delightfully pleased to be a superhero that it made the CW’s show work wonderfully well.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

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