Emmys 2020: Sam Heughan, Mark Harmon, Sterling K. Brown top Drama Actor picks

Who will be nominated for Actor in a Drama Series at the 2020 Primetime Emmy Awards? That’s something we are going to talk about today in the latest edition of CarterMatt’s ongoing Emmy’s wishlist series!

When you look around the category right now, one thing is clear: The competition is tough this year! You have more performers vying for fewer spots than almost ever before — personally, we hope that at least seven make the final ballot just because there are so many to choose from! There are at least another seven beyond the ones our team has assembled below that are more than worthy.

For now, let’s go ahead and present our personal picks for Actor in a Drama Series. Remember that if you head over to the link here, you can also see our picks in some other categories.

Matt Bomer, The Sinner (USA) – Jamie Burns has to be one of the most haunting roles of Bomer’s career. He was tasked with having to transform a seemingly mild-mannered guy into someone steeped in darkness, haunted by the pains of his past and his understanding of what life truly was. This performance was a slow descent, and you could see Matt become more and more immersed in it as the season went on. This is one of the best performances of his career, and that’s saying something with the rich career he’s had.

Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (NBC) – Season 4 may have been the most challenging year for Sterling to date, largely because so much of the story revolved around peeling off some of Randall’s layers. We understood more of his frustrations and how desperate he was to feel like he could save Rebecca, just because he spent years of his life wondering if he could’ve done more to save Jack. The final episodes brought so much emotion to the forefront, and regardless of whether or not you agree with how Randall handled Rebecca and the clinical trial, you can see the excellence in every frame of Brown’s performance.

Omari Hardwick, Power (Starz) – The downfall of James St. Patrick was one of the most poignant journeys on television in the past year — you saw through the final season everything that Ghost was striving for, but ultimately also the steps that led to him drawing his last breath. This was a hard season for Omari, knowing the fate of his character and yet having to go back and play variations of Ghost time and time again. In the end, though, his best moment comes in his farewell scene with Joseph Sikora. Despite all of the chaos in their lives, it was a reminder of that deep brotherhood that defined them.

Mark Harmon, NCIS (CBS) – Often, actors find themselves punished in awards consideration for appearing on procedurals. Yet, watch Mark’s performance alongside Christopher Lloyd in “The Arizona” and tell us that it doesn’t stack up with some of the best of the past year. There is still that irascible part of Jethro Gibbs that Harmon plays very well — there’s a comfort in that character — but what made season 17 special is that we saw something more. There is a Gibbs who is ready to relinquish some old rules and show a deeper, more personal side. These moments of discomfort for Gibbs are where Harmon shines the most.

Sam Heughan, Outlander (Starz) – Look at what Sam did during the Battle of Alamance as Jamie Fraser, or the rage he showed in his desperation to save Claire. This was a season full of pain for Jamie, who had to better understand his position as leader while grappling with difficult responsibilities at the Ridge. We know about Sam’s command of the material at this point, and his ability to turn Jamie into this powerful, heroic figure. It’s his vulnerability that shines through the most in season 5. While Jamie may be many things, a husband, a friend, and a father are his most impactful roles to us.

Tobias Menzies, The Crown (Netflix) – Even before seeing his first season as Prince Philip, we knew that Menzies would excel in this role. As an actor, he has shown so many times an ability to get lost in all of his roles. He is truly believable down to the last nuance, and he allows us a vessel to explore this man’s humanity — a rarity, when we often consider Royals to be these elusive figures with no real personality beyond their title. Acting alongside Olivia Colman is no easy task, but Tobias more than held his own.

Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul (AMC) – The best season of the series so far merits serious recognition for Bob. Every single moment of him as Jimmy McGill/Saul Goodman/Gene Takovic in season 5 was fantastic, from him struggling with his morality to balancing his ambition and his relationship with Kim Wexler. Jimmy is a man so driven to prove something, to be someone, that he doesn’t ever relish what he has. He also throws himself into danger, not immediately realizing the danger that will later come from it. There is humor always in Bob’s performances, but there is certainly tragedy in Saul. We’re seeing that bubble up already.

Who do you want to see nominated for Actor in a Drama Series?

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