* Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
* Kevin Spacey (House of Cards)
* Jeff Daniels (The Newsroom)
* Jon Hamm (Mad Men)
* Matthew McConaughey (True Detective)
* Woody Harrelson (True Detective)
SURPRISED HE'S NOT NOMINATED: Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey)
SHOULD BE NOMINATED: Martin Sheen (Masters of Sex)
MY THOUGHTS ON THE ACTUAL NOMINEES:
* The man, the myth, the legend. The man who already is halfway to EGOT with a Tony win this summer, the man who has 3 Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series wins under his belt, and one of the two men who realistically has a shot to win this award this year is Bryan Cranston. If you take any narrative aside and you just judge these nominees based upon the acting they did in the past 12 months, I don't know how you don't give this award to Bryan Cranston. He's always been incredible as Walter White, but the final 8 episodes of the AMC drama showcased Cranston's best work. You could have chosen any of those 8 for Bryan Cranston's Emmy submission episode, but he wisely selected the very best of the best, "Ozymandias".
* The other man who could realistically win this award is Matthew McConaughey. Not only does he have the halfway to EGOT narrative working in his favor as he won an Oscar earlier this year for his work in the film Dallas Buyers Club, but he gave an incredibly showy performance as the laid back, "time is a flat circle" detective Rust Cohle. The problem I have with McConaughey, both with his work in Dallas Buyers Club and in True Detective, is that he does things that gets the award voters to notice him, but he doesn't really ACT. Losing a lot of weight is incredible and shows dedication, as well as slapping on a wig and spouting Nietzsche, and it's fun to watch, but it's not the pinnacle of actually acting. McConaughey is a legit A-list actor and has charisma out the wazoo, but he's not the greatest "actor". I wouldn't inherently be upset if McConaughey won, and he absolutely deserves this nomination, but it's clear cut in my mind (although probably not in the minds of the voters) who should win this award. Plus, Matthew McConaughey wasn't even the best actor on his own show. That award goes to Woody Harrelson. Harrelson may not have had the best lines like McConaughey did, but he gave a wonderfully subtle performance that shows why he's an Oscar nominee in his own right. The anger that Harrelson's detective Marty Hart always had just bubbling under the surface, even when he's not exploding in anger, is brilliant acting by Harrelson.
* Another Oscar winner nominated in this category is Kevin Spacey. I'm having trouble deciphering whether Spacey gave a great performance or not. It's tough for me to distinguish Spacey's acting from the atrocious writing and story lines the show gave him. I understand Spacey's Frank Underwood's quest for power to become the next President of the United States, but the way the show went about it was just cartoony and ridiculous. But with that being said, I am of the firm mindset that acting really doesn't change from season to season, and I wholeheartedly endorsed Spacey's nomination last year, which means I shouldn't penalize him for the terrible scripts this year.
* Lastly, because I neither have the time nor the patience to sit through a terrible show no mater how much of a Jeff Daniels fan I am (If you want to see great acting, watch Daniels in The Squid and The Whale), we get to Jon Hamm. I freaking love Jon Hamm and his performance as Don Draper is just legendary. While the show itself was up and down, Hamm was just as great as ever. I'm hoping airing the second half of the final season of Mad Men next year will mean Jon Hamm will finally win his first Primetime Emmy because a) it's absolutely absurd that Hamm doesn't have one by now and b) it's the only reason this dumb half of a season makes any sense.
WHO WILL WIN: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
I can't get a proper gauge on whether Cranston or McConaughey will win this award. My head says go with True Detective, but my heart says Breaking Bad. I just think Bryan Cranston out-acted Matthew McConaugey this year, and that's why he wins.
WHO SHOULD WIN: Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad)
* Don Chedle (House of Lies)
* Jim Parsons (The Big Bang Theory)
* Louis C.K (Louie)
* Matt LeBlanc (Episodes)
* Ricky Gervais (Derek)
* William H. Macy (Shameless)
SURPRISED HE'S NOT NOMINATED: Andy Samberg (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
SHOULD BE NOMINATED: Samberg
THOUGHTS ON THE ACTUAL NOMINEES:
* By far and away the category with the worst depth is the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series category. I honestly believe the nominees were chosen based upon reputation and not based on screeners the Emmy voters received. Let's start with the three shows I've never seen an episode of: Episodes, House of Lies, and Shameless. I have no doubt that Oscar nominees Don Chedle and William H. Macy are great on their respected shows. They're both great in everything. Matt LeBlanc was never earth-shattering on Friends, but he's also probably doing some solid work on Episodes. I can't imagine if I watch any of those shows I'd be upset that they deserved a nomination.
* Now let's go on to the shows I've at least seen clips of. I'm probably the only one who's watching Louie and doesn't absolutely love it. I'm sure it's brilliant in a TV critic sort of way, and all of the creative decisions are based upon the mind of Louie C.K. However, I don't know how good of an actor C.K. is. He reminds me a lot of Jerry Seinfeld- a guy on a great show who learned to act, but was never really worthy of winning any acting awards either. On the flip side, you have Ricky Gervais. Gervais was an actor turned stand up comedian, and actually does have some acting chops. He really goes all out with his Derek character making him have a specific walk and gait, and he plays a character unlike anything Gervais has ever done before.
* Lastly, we get to Jim Parsons. This should be another example where I should differentiate the character from the actor, because I freaking loathe Sheldon Cooper. Whatever mental disorder Sheldon may or may not have aside, there's just no reason anyone on the show would still be friends with him. He's irritating, he's belittling, and he's thrown his friends under the bus so many times I've lost count. Again, this level of hatred I have for Sheldon Cooper probably means that Jim Parsons is doing an excellent job, but I don't think we should be rewarding these story lines either.
WHO WILL WIN: Ricky Gervais (Derek)
Jim Parsons has won this award four times in five years, and if he wins this year it will be his first three-peat. If this was Parsons third or fourth win in a row, picking against him would be a no-brainer; however, many actors have won three in a row, missed a year, and then won some more. But that being said, Ricky Gervais is also an Emmy darling, has won this category in the past for his work on Extras, and does some damn fine acting.
WHO SHOULD WIN (ACTUAL NOMINEES): Ricky Gervais (Derek)
WHO SHOULD WIN (ENTIRE ELIGIBLE FIELD): Joel McHale (Community)
WHICH LEAD ACTOR DELIVERED THE BEST PERFORMANCE DURING THE PAST 12 MONTHS? LET US KNOW ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE!
If you would like to comment on this post, please visit our Facebook page