Thursday, September 8, 2022

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.

Jason Bateman as Marty Byrde, Ozark (Pound of Flesh and Still Kickin’
This is Bateman’s fourth nomination for this role, back in the running after the show’s hiatus last season. His show is also over now, and he just has a win for directing from several years ago. Bateman is certainly excellent but his show didn’t deliver big numbers in terms of nominations. If he was going to win, another year seems like it would have been better, but the lack of a clear frontrunner in him scoring a victory.

Brian Cox as Logan Roy, Succession (All the Bells Say)
Cox is back after being nominated for season two of his show, when he lost to his costar and onscreen son Jeremy Strong. Cox is formidable in this role, and definitely does some of his best work in the season finale. But Strong was able to defeat him last time and I feel like that might happen again, though it’s always possible that he could win this time around for the definition of scenery-chewing and displaying cruelty.

Lee Jung-jae as Player 456, Squid Game (Gganbu)
This is the first nomination for the South Korean actor, who scored a Screen Actors Guild Award victory over both “Succession” leads. Jung-jae is the most crucial part of this show, and he chose wisely with his submitted episode, which finds him interacting with Player 1 and trying to figure out a way to save a man who has been nothing but kind to him. I think that’s enough to net him the win, even if it’s not a done deal.

Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, Better Call Saul (Plan and Execution)
It’s hard to believe that Odenkirk, who was nominated for the first four seasons of his show, was passed over for an incredible season five. Fortunately, he’s back now for the first half of season six, and while its nomination haul wasn’t all that fantastic, the back half of the season, which will be eligible next year, aired during voting. Given the strong reception that the Hollywood Critics Association gave the show with its TV awards last month, I think Odenkirk has a much better shot than initially expected. His episode submission is also very strong, which doesn’t hurt.

Adam Scott as Mark Scout, Severance (Good News About Hell)
There are many people, myself included, who believe that Scott should have received multiple nominations for his work on “Parks and Recreation. It’s so great to see him honored now for a very different role, or really, two roles, which he plays so marvelously. His show did better than expected with nominations and a win for him would be a huge endorsement of its quality. I think it’s still a bit too under-the-radar, but it is possible that he could upset.

Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy, Succession (Too Much Birthday)
Strong won this award for his show’s second season and now returns for its third. Reports of his method acting being a bit too intense seem not to have deterred voters, and his submitted episode allows him to be even more off-the-wall and invested in his character’s delusions (its title says it all). He managed to beat his costar and onscreen father Brian Cox last time, and he might be able to pull off the same thing again.

Who should win (based on entire season): Odenkirk or Scott
Who should win (based on individual episodes): Odenkirk
Who will win: I think Jung-jae can win this.

Next up: Best Limited or Anthology Series

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