Monday, August 1, 2016

AFT Awards: Best Lead Actor in a Drama Series

This is the first category of the 10th Annual AFT Television Awards, my personal choices for the best in television during the 2015-2016 season. 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, Grant Gustin, Bob Odenkirk, Liev Schreiber, Justin Theroux

Emmy nominees: Kyle Chandler, Rami Malek, Bob Odenkirk, Matthew Rhys, Liev Schreiber, Kevin Spacey

Semi-finalists: Aaron Stanford (12 Monkeys), Aden Young (Rectify), Antony Starr (Banshee), Justin Theroux (The Leftovers), Michael Emerson (Person of Interest), Peter Krause (The Catch)

Finalists: Dominic West (The Affair) embodied the most detestable character on television, a man so concerned with his own constantly evolving idea of happiness to think about how he treats the women in his life. Grant Gustin (The Flash) jumped into season two with the same unbounded energy as he tackled even greater threats and an expanded cast of friends and enemies in his life. Damian Lewis (Billions) and Paul Giamatti (Billions) played brilliantly off each other as egotistical opponents obsessed with each other’s destruction. Kevin Spacey (House of Cards) portrayed a more weary, weakened leader still set on global conquest but with a more refined and vulnerable sense of self.

The nominees:

Rami Malek (Mr. Robot) deftly worked with an extraordinarily complicated protagonist to turn him into this season’s most unexpected antihero who really has no idea who he is. Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul) took his crooked lawyer to new theoretical highs and unexpected lows, keeping him magnificently sympathetic the whole time. Liev Schreiber (Ray Donovan) faced more internal and personal pressure than ever before as his fixer started to think about what it is that he does. Jake McDorman (Limitless) tackled a role that could have been throwaway and forgettable but used his charisma to its greatest possible effect to present a likeable and compelling lead.

The winner:

Wagner Moura (Narcos) made Pablo Escobar the most magnetic character of the season, quietly terrifying those around him into submission as he pursued his dream of building an empire.

Next up: Best Lead Actress in a Drama Series

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