Emmy Circuit 2015: Best Drama Actor

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Emmys

The “E” of EGOT can sometimes be the easiest award to in show business to win…and sometimes, it can be the hardest.  While talented performers like Allison Janney and Bryan Cranston have six Emmys, equally talented artists like Jon Hamm and Jason Alexander are sadly without TV’s golden man.

The 2015 Emmys, more so than any Emmys I can recall, seem to be a year of transition for the Emmys.  They’ve expanded the Best Comedy and Best Drama races to include 7 series, redefined Guest and Movie/Mini races following controversy, etc.  But most important of all, Emmy standard-bearers of the last few years seem to be on the decline or going off the air entirely.  Breaking Bad is off the air and Homeland seems far from the Emmy auditorium.  With that, Mad Men is the only viable candidate for Best Drama Series that has won before.  Likewise, there is currently ONLY ONE actor/character combinations on TV that has won Best Actor in a Drama Series before: Jeff Daniels in The Newsroom.  All the other recent winners are on long-gone shows, or have been hung in Iran.

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To hammer this point home even more, ONLY THREE of the six Best Actor in a Drama Series nominees from 2014 are EVEN eligible–Jon Hamm in Mad Men, Kevin Spacey in House of Cards, and the aforementioned Daniels.  There’s a strong likelihood that only Hamm and Spacey will be representatives for the 2014 class, marking one of the highest turnover rates for this category ever.  Many, including myself, are predicting FOUR new nominees to enter this race. Wowza.

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Back in the fall, it looked like Clive Owen would be a certain nominee for his work on The Knick.  But buzz for that has waned in the many months since it aired.  Despite airing around the same time, however, The Affair‘s buzz remains as strong as ever.  Dominic West should be a strong a likely addition to this lineup, if only because Showtime will have no other show to champion in this race.  If there’s any Breaking Bad residual love, Better Call Saul could yield funny man Bob Odenkirk a nomination.  Leftover Heisenberg love or not, Saul’s reviews are enough to merit is discussion in this race alone.

Netflix has its hands full in this race (and in the Best Drama Series race, more on that in a few weeks).  Netflix knows it can get Spacey his first Emmy for House of Cards and it can win the network’s first above-the-line Emmy, but it also has Bloodline and Kyle Chandler to deal with.  While reviews were strong for the family noir, I wonder how many typical voters tuned in during the insanely busy spring for TV.  One thing we know every Emmy voter and even your elderly mother watched was Empire.  While the buzz is concentrated on the ratings and Taraji P. Henson‘s amazing work as Cookie, there should be enough coattails for Oscar nominee Terrence Howard to find his way into a sextet.

Jon Hamm

Had he gotten in last year, I would be higher on three time Emmy winner James Spader for The Blacklist.  But if he couldn’t get in when the show was new and a ratings hit, it won’t get in when viewership has dropped in the sophomore season.  Past nominee and Lord of Grantham, Hugh Bonneville could find a way back to the race for Downton Abbey, but I’ve got a feeling the show will finally fall at the Emmys.  I’m sure many TV critics would jump for joy to see Matthew Rhys or Michael Sheen make it in for The Americans and Masters of Sex, respectively, but neither seem likely due to past lack of love.  One dark horse I strongly considered placing in my Top Six is Steve Buscemi for Boardwalk Empire, a show that the Emmys have always loved, but have forgotten about in recent years.

Sam’s Current, Non-Final Predictions
1. Jon Hamm, Mad Men
2. Kevin Spacey, House of Cards
3. Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
4. Dominic West, The Affair
5. Kyle Chandler, Bloodline
6. Terrence Howard, Empire

Check out the OFFICIAL Emmy Predictions for Best Actor (Drama) HERE.

Who’d I miss?  What are your predictions?