Thursday, June 30, 2011

Emmy Predictions 2011: Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama

Raylan Givens has no hat on "Justified"
Credit: FX

Over the course of the next two weeks I will be covering the major Emmy categories. Over the past few days I have covered most of the major drama acting awards. Today, I cover the last of those major drama acting awards, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama. Last year's nominees, my predictions, and who I would nominate are after the jump.

Part 1: Last Year's Nominees
Bryan Cranston-"Breaking Bad" *Winner
Kyle Chandler-"Friday Night Lights"
Matthew Fox-"Lost"
Michael C. Hall-Dexter"
Jon Hamm-"Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie-"House"

There's a little wiggle room for new entries in this category. Bryan Cranston isn't eligible for a nomination after Breaking Bad took the year off and the nomination for Matthew Fox was for Lost's final season.

Part 2: My Predictions
Jon Hamm-"Mad Men"
Hugh Laurie-"House"
Michael C. Hall-"Dexter"
Kyle Chandler-"Friday Night Lights"
Steve Buscemi-"Boardwalk Empire"
Gabriel Byrne-"In Treatment"

Hamm, Laurie, Hall, and Chandler should all be nominated again. None of them will drop out of the field this year. Buscemi has a Golden Globe and a SAG win already under his belt so he's a lock for a nomination. Now, here's where things get complicated. There are at least five other contenders for the final nomination slot. I personally went with Byrne because he's been nominated in this role before, but I could easily see one of Jeremy Irons, Sean Bean, Timothy Oylphant, or Ray Romano getting a nomination in the same slot.

Part 3: If I Had an Emmy Ballot...

My first pick should be obvious from the picture choice. Timothy Olyphant is giving a performance on Justified that is one of the strongest on TV this season. His character, Raylan Givens, was one of my favorite discoveries of the past TV season. Olyphant plays Givens with a certain swagger, and yet is able to show the vulnerabilities of the character. I know that he has only a slim shot (if that) of getting a nomination, but he certainly deserves to be up there.

The cast of Game of Thrones is one of the biggest ensembles on television, but if there's one person who could be considered the lead of the show, it's Sean Bean. Ned Stark was one of the more complex characters on television this season. He's a person who is immensely trusting. The constant debate in his head is if he should do what's right for his family or what's right for the kingdom. Bean did a fantastic job bringing this complex character to life. He is one of the many actors in this show that stick out, and that's no small feat. He did a fantastic job with this character, so I have to include him on my ballot, even if he probably won't get a nomination.

It's very rare to see comedians transfer to drama and give a very compelling performance. Ray Romano was able to to exactly that on Men of a Certain Age. Most of his best work is in the second half of the season (which will be eligible for Emmy consideration next year), but his work in the first half of the season is nuanced and powerful. His acting style is subtle, but subtle works for his character and the show.

In many ways, Peter Krause is the center of the Parenthood ensemble. This season his character, Adam Braverman, had to deal with a lot of heavy stuff. He had a crappy job, his daughter had sex for the first time, and he has to deal with his son. Krause did a fantastic job with each of these. His character is a complex character and it takes a very skilled actor to play a character this complex. In particular, he did a fantastic job in the scenes with Max Burkholder and Michael B. Jordan. He won't get an Emmy nomination, but he certainly deserves one.

I can't blame Hugh Laurie for the downfall of House this season. That was the fault of the writers. Laurie continued to do fine work this season. He never let up and made everything the writers gave him as convincing as he possibly could. In particular, he did a fantastic job in the scene where House has to perform surgery on himself. That scene may have verged on unwatchable, but Laurie sold it. I really wish House hadn't fallen off the rails so he could actually have material that deserves him because this season of House certainly didn't.

I have one more slot to fill, so I'll fill it with Holt McCallany from Lights Out. He did a fantastic job of being a strong center to the show that needed a strong center. He played a very convincing boxer and did a fantastic job with the material he was given. He has no shot at a nomination, but I have to include him on my ballot.

Some Honorable Mentions: Jason Clarke just finished short of a spot on the ballot. His material in the last few episodes of the series was particularly strong. Some issues with his performance in the early going prevented me from including him. I don't think this performance is Emmy worthy, but I do like Matt Bomer quite a bit. He provides a strong center to White Collar.

That's a wrap on this category. If you have some thoughts that you would like to share on my predictions/picks, or some predictions/picks of your own, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Tuesday: I move on to Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy.

1 comment:

  1. Have to disagree with you on one point. Bean is one of the least "complex" of the Game of Thrones characters.

    Sadly, I think the series will suffer in this category due to the lack consensus in who qualifies as lead vs supporting. Personally, I think Dinklage is closer to a lead Bean.


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