Now we have six great actors giving great dramatic performances. And the nominees are:
Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson in Boardwalk Empire
Bryan Cranston as Walter White in Breaking Bad
Michael C. Hall as Dexter Morgan in Dexter
Hugh Bonneville as Robert, Earl of Grantham in Downton Abbey
Damian Lewis as Nicholas Brody in Homeland
Jon Hamm as Don Draper in Mad Men
I think we can all agree that Cranston’s work is career-defining, and I fully expect him to claim this prize for the fourth time. And I have no problem with this. But an upset is always fun. So who might it be?
Hall is consistently creepy, but he’s on a show that many agree has passed its prime. By contrast, Bonneville is doing his thing on one of the hottest shows of the season (if Downton is set for a streak, he stands to benefit). Buscemi is one of my favorite actors, and now that Nucky is set to become a full gangster, he’ll likely be a top contender next year. But if we’re being honest, Michael Pitt deserved the Boardwalk nomination for Jimmy’s bitter rise and tragic fall.
So what of Hamm and Lewis? Much like Cranston, Hamm’s work as Don Draper is the stuff of TV legend. However, Don spent much of this past season in a happy place (give or take the occasional fever dream or desertion of this wife miles from home). The result? Not as much meaty material for Hamm to sink his teeth into (but it’s still a crime that he has yet to take home an Emmy for this role). So my pick is Lewis who got to wear many hats in Homeland’s freshman season (scarred POW, would-be assassin, betrayed husband, adulterous lover, caring father). Don’t believe he can play all these parts? Then just watch him on the verge of blowing up the powers that be in the season finale. And then his daughter calls him. And with no words, Lewis takes you through every conflicted emotion his character experienced throughout the entire season. It’s an acting feat to say the least and should be rewarded.
Cranston almost definitely has this in the bag, but a win for Lewis would be a nice suprise on Sunday night.