Thursday, September 3, 2015

Emmy Winner Predictions: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series

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

Kyle Chandler as John Rayburn, Bloodline (Episode 112)
Chandler won an Emmy in this category back in 2011 for the final season of “Friday Night Lights.” Now, Chandler is on Netflix as the most responsible adult child of a Florida family that owns an inn. He submitted the season finale, which allows him to channel some unrestrained rage. He doesn’t have the same likeability as his endearing coach, but it’s a very good sampling of his performance on a mediocre show.

Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, The Newsroom (What Kind of Day Has It Been?)
Daniels won this trophy for season one of this show and managed to hang on to a nomination last year despite little love for his show all around on both occasions, and now he’s back for the final season of the show, with the series finale as his submission. He has a good platform to deliver solid and humorous speeches, but I think his time has passed, and I would be even more surprised if he won now than I was when he won the first time.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper, Mad Men (Person to Person)
This is the eighth nomination for Hamm, who has yet to win and now contends for the final time for the role that made him famous. I’m not sure the series finale, in which he sits on a beach meditating and doesn’t really interact with any of the other characters, is the best showcase, but this would be a reward for the performance as a whole if he was recognized. I think he has a good shot, but this episode submission pales in comparison to previous selections.

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, Better Call Saul (Pimento)
I’m so thrilled that Odenkirk, who is terrific in this role that he originated on “Breaking Bad,” opted not to submit an early episode from the season and instead went with the penultimate hour, one which allows him to be on top for half of it and then utterly devastated for the other. This is probably the most solid submission in this category, and Odenkirk would very much deserve to win based on it.

Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan, Ray Donovan (Walk This Way)
I’m just so happy that Schreiber got nominated after being left off the list last year and he even managed to achieve that feat without costar Jon Voight making the cut. I’d be ecstatic if he won, but I don’t see that happening given the lack of enthusiasm elsewhere for his show. His episode submission is solid, particularly because it shows him exploding at his brother, which he never really does. He’s always terrific, and this episode is a good sampling of the show.

Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, House of Cards (Chapter 32)
This is Spacey’s third nomination, and his show has yet to score a major Emmy win despite victories at the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. His submission this year is a formidable hour that has him trying to negotiate peace in Russia and getting personal with his biographer. It’s a good example of Frank at his subtlest and letting his guard down, which should be good for viewers to see but won’t convince them if they didn’t vote for his showier submissions for season one and two.

Who should win (based on entire season): Odenkirk or Schreiber
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Odenkirk
Who will win: I don’t see how Hamm can’t win for his body of work on the show. If he doesn’t, it will probably be Spacey or Odenkirk.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

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