While there are a number of competitive categories for the 2012 Primetime Emmy Awards already (even without the nominations being unveiled yet), few have as much of a clear-cut favorite as the category of Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series. Bryan Cranston seems to be the clear favorite to win his fourth trophy for “Breaking Bad,” and everyone else seems to be merely playing catch-up.
So does Cranston really deserve another trophy? Read on to find out our perspective — and be sure to share your own by leaving a comment below or answering in our poll.
The deserving nominees
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (AMC) – We’re not going to draw out the suspense here. It may be predictable, but Cranston acted his heart out for season 4 of “Breaking Bad” — and arguably did a better job than with his past three seasons.
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” (AMC) – Blame Cranston for the fact that Hamm has never won an Emmy, and even though the streak will continue, Don Draper had a another fine year at SCDP. With that being said, season 4 seemed like a better shot for Hamm than this time around (and last year he didn’t even have to worry about Cranston).
Hugh Laurie, “House” (Fox) – By the same token, Laurie has never won an Emmy for his portrayal of his signature doctor, and for the series finale alone he should get some consideration here. We actually think that were this a different year, he’d have a better shot — but now, he’s going to have to face the fact that this is still Cranston’s race to lose.
Damian Lewis, “Homeland” (Showtime) – Lewis took an incredibly tough role to play and made it something special — and also was not even intimidated by the stellar work of Claire Danes. We still feel as though the latter has a shot of winning in what is a bit of a less competitive category this year, though — Lewis should just be happy to be at the party.
Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey” (PBS) – In reality, Bonneville’s chances at a nomination are pretty slim, but we cannot ignore the man simply because he is on the same show as Elizabeth McGovern and Maggie Smith.
Matt Bomer, “White Collar” (USA) – Compared to Bomer, Bonneville has a great chance at being nominated. There’s no way that we see this happening in a million years, mostly because Bomer’s show actually has (gasp!) an air of comedy to it at times. Neal Caffrey really is pretty much the epitome of cool, though, and his presence would be greatly appreciated at the show.
Honorable mentions: Charlie Hunnam (“Sons of Anarchy”), Patrick J. Adams (“Suits”), Kelsey Grammer (“Boss”), Nathan Fillion (“Castle”), Michael C. Hall (“Dexter”)
The likely nominees
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (AMC) – Like we said, he’s a lock to be nominated — and will almost surely win.
Jon Hamm, “Mad Men” (AMC) – So long as Cranston is around, Hamm is going to have a hard time.
Hugh Laurie, “House” (Fox) – We give Laurie a shot simply based on Emmy voters giving him a proper send-off.
Damian Lewis, “Homeland” (Showtime) – Emmy voters will want to appear conscious about this series, but both the series and Dane have better chances than Lewis.
Kelsey Grammer, “Boss” (Starz) – Grammer won the Golden Globe for his part as the ruthless mayor of Chicago, and he is an awards-show darling. At the same time, though, this show is also borderline depressing — too much so for many voters.
Dustin Hoffman, “Luck” (HBO) – Did Hoffman do a solid job here? Sure, but this nomination will feel more like one for Hoffman’s name than the actual show — which HBO may actually be better suited to forget about now after some horse deaths led to production ending on season 2.
Could receive some votes: Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO), Timothy Olyphant, “Justified” (FX), Michael C. Hall, “Dexter” (Showtime), William H. Macy, “Shameless” (Showtime), Charlie Hunnam, “Sons of Anarchy” (FX)
Be sure to check out some of the other pieces in our Emmy preview series!
Photos: Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, AMC