Sorry that I'm not doing these as often as I should. I have been just procrastinating. There will be one for series (and complete predictions) just before the ceremony as well as one for all the Creative Arts on Saturday.
Hugh Bonneville managed to break through for his performance on Downton Abbey. Always in contention from the start, Bonneville is one of those actors that if the right circumstances pull through will be something. This year, as with last year and the year before in Miniseries Actor, his work on Downton has been recognized, and the only other person on Downton who shares three consecutive nominations that is the great Maggie Smith. That being said, there's such strong competition this year that I am afraid that he's at the end of the pack at this moment.
One who is leading on the other hand is Bryan Cranston. Cranston has won a lot of times for Breaking Bad, and with the show being all the more popular by the millisecond, and with this currently being in it's final season and getting good reviews, it will still be in people's minds. Cranston is fierce, Breaking Bad is popular, it's the most relevant of all the shows. I think that it's his to lose.
The first freshman of the category is Jeff Daniels for The Newsroom. I, for one, like comedic actors doing dramatic roles and vice-versa, and it obvious that Daniels is the best part of the show. Even if the critics gave it mixed reviews, they all liked Daniels on the show. The rationale behind The Newsroom getting mixed reviews and with this being the show's first year doesn't bode well, even for Daniels. Let's hope he doesn't become the Jon Hamm of this category...
And speaking of Jon Hamm... he is constantly, episode after episode, pulling off great work on Mad Men, and the show even managed to pull off four consecutive Best Drama Series awards. And yet, Hamm is always the bridesmaid, after the bride Bryan Cranston (and I'm using those terms affectionately). Even that one year Cranston wasn't eligible, he still lost... to Kyle Chandler for the final season of Friday Night Lights. Don't get me wrong, I liked FNL as a show and Chandler himself, but Hamm, this being his sixth turn at bat, he will again be six times a loser, unless, of course, they give him one final hurrah for the final season of Mad Men next year (fingers crossed).
Damian Lewis has the tape. He literally submitted his best performance on Homeland, and he won before last year. Although I felt at the time that his win last year was a fluke, I realize now that it is possible that it could not be that at all. Lewis is constantly great, he is one of the best parts of Homeland, his episode is great. I think that he is a potential dark horse.
Breaking through the Netflix barrier, Kevin Spacey gets in for the first season of House of Cards, a series only available through the online medium. He was terrific on the show, and is a clear standout from the other actors. Spacey also has a good episode, and is fiery and mean, something that I think that the Emmy voters could eat up, but still I think you just don't mess with "the king" (that's Bryan Cranston for anyone who doesn't follow Breaking Bad).
Will Win: Bryan Cranston
Should Win: Jon Hamm!!!
Could Win: Damian Lewis
A bit of an Emmy favourite, Alec Baldwin's Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock has been beloved by television fans and by the Emmys as well. And I can see why, he is pretty hilarious. His work on 30 Rock is a career best and even if the show has somewhat declined (except for the final season), I still think that he could be on voters minds. But let's face it, he picked the wrong episode. He has basically given up, like he's just satisfied with the two Emmy wins before (who wouldn't be?), and even though they like giving shows a goodbye hug, I wouldn't count on it.
Jason Bateman was a perennial favourite back in 2004 and 2005, when Arrested Development was hot on FOX. Now, 'Arrested' is hot on Netflix, and shockingly, this is the only acting nomination the show received, granted that they could have chosen Will Arnett, Jeffrey Tambor, David Cross or Jessica Walter for their wonderfully zany characters. That, to me, puts a big damper on his odds of winning. I think that the voters are past the show, and the mixed reviews of the fourth season, to be, seals the deal.
Don Cheadle is on a show, House of Lies, that is kind of not really liked. Actually, it's alright, but I wouldn't consider it Emmy-worthy though. Cheadle, however, is good on it and has a bit of an edge that he is a movie star. This is the year of the movie star at the Emmys this year, with Robin Wright Penn and Kevin Spacey and others breaking through for their shows. Even though Cheadle won at the Golden Globes, he won't win the Emmy. That was just a fluke, or as I call it, "a Jon Cryer moment".
Normally actors who play "themselves" on a show, like Jerry Seinfeld or Larry David on Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm respectively never win or tend to do badly at the Emmys, but this year, Louis C.K. has been in as strong of a position as anyone else has ever been in. His episode submission is golden. Hilarious, but also tearjerking in some scenes. While the Emmys believe playing "yourself" is not really acting, Louis C.K. is acting in that episode. I suspect him to be a potential dark horse here for victory.
Matt LeBlanc also falls under the "playing yourself" bias (I realize after the fact that that is now giggle inducing...) with Episodes. LeBlanc was a favourite on Friends a while back, and while Episodes is still good, it's not quite the mega-hit Friends was, and to be frank his episode has him hardly in it at all even. I don't think it'll happen.
Sorry for sounding like a bit of a fanboy here, but Jim Parsons is just so funny on The Big Bang Theory. This character of Sheldon Cooper is prissy, egotistical, but absolutely enjoyable to watch every week. It is such perfect casting, and such unusual too albeit, that it fits so good, even as good I will even say, as Carroll O'Connor as Archie Bunker. This year, he got people mixed about his episode, many people, like me, think that he is funny in the episode, but others don't see the point to it. I don't think that this would apply here. He's won twice before, he's a perennial favourite, history is doomed to repeat itself, I think that if not Parsons than Louis C.K., but it is very close.
Will Win/Should Win: Jim Parsons
Could Win: Louis C.K.