In day 2 of our Primetime Emmy preview series, we’re playing “pick the nominations” with one of our favorite categories of the year: Actor in a Drama Series. There are so many good roles for leading men out there right now in this category, and we could have made this list ten people if the Emmys allowed it.
Note that these are just our personal picks, and not necessarily who the Emmys will select. (Of this list, we’re really only confident that two of them will actually get nods, whereas the others are more fringe possibilities.) Do you agree or disagree? We want to hear from you in either our comment box or the poll below.
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (AMC) – Cranston will probably be nominated next year, too, simply because he’s that amazing. You know that old adage that a great actor is someone that you can never image a role existing without them? That applies here times a million. Cranston is more than just the Danger: He’s a classic.
Jeff Daniels, “The Newsroom” (HBO) – We were ready to give this to Jeff just from his opening monologue in “The Newsroom” pilot alone. We’re well aware that the show is polarizing, but we really appreciated the portrayal here of a man who was a different breed of newsman, and also someone who has a separate sense of what power means to them than the other people on this list.
Freddie Highmore, “Bates Motel” (A&E) – No disrespect to Vera Farmiga, and we understand why the network is pushing hard for her nomination more so then Freddie, but to us, Highmore is the real star of this show. We remember back watching “Finding Neverland” the kind of promise this young actor had, and playing Norman Bates has brought it all to the forefront in the most terrifying way possible.
Charlie Hunnam, “Sons of Anarchy” (FX) – What is it about a fall from grace that is so captivating? It may be wrong to say that Hunnam’s Jax Teller ever had “grace,” but he certainly had more on “Sons of Anarchy” season 5 than he did throughout the first four years of the series. For more on why he deserves this spot, just check out the underrated actor’s performance following (eight-month-old spoiler alert!) the death of Opie.
Damian Lewis, “Homeland” (Showtime) – Once again, “Homeland” delivers, and Lewis is a big reason why. We would not necessarily make him the favorite the same way that awards shows have as of late, but his portrayal of Brody is brilliant in that he’s someone that you should loathe, but at the same time, you’re so compelled to keep watching him. Maybe that’s what he and Don Draper have in common.
Matthew Rhys, “The Americans” (FX) – This is that unfortunate show where those who watched early on didn’t stick with it, and it became so much stronger over the course of the last six or seven episodes. Those who bailed early missed out on what was one of the best performances of the spring. We knew that Rhys could be good, but that good? He and Andrew Lincoln were our big surprises, and Rhys narrowly beats him out for this spot.
As for some of our key omissions, we’ve started to grow tired of the Don Draper disconnect (sorry, Jon Hamm), Hugh Bonneville really was not that much of an anchor on “Downton Abbey” this season, and Kevin Spacey and “House of Cards” didn’t make that enormous of an impression on this end.
If you want to check out more of our Emmy preview series, be sure to click here!