Emmys Countdown: A Chat About Best Actor

In the lead-up to the announcement on Emmy nominations on July 10, Celebuzz will be looking at the past year in outstanding television and analyzing what will be recognized and what, what should be recognized and what should not. Today, Robert Kessler and Jason Marshall discuss the Best Actor categories.

Robert Kessler: Today we’re talking about Best Actor. Let’s get started with the dramatic actors, which is probably the most crowded category of them all. There are, of course, the big three (two really) of Bryan Cranston, Matthew McConaughey, and Woody Harrelson.

Jason Marshall: Those three are all shoe-in for nominations for sure, although I think Woody deserves his spot a tad more than Matthew. I would really love to see some non-normal choices get made this year. Like Mads Mikkelsen for Hannibal or Joel Kinnaman for The Killing.

RK: Either Mads Mikkelson or Hugh Dancy would be great, but it’s never going to happen.

JM: Yeah it won’t ever happen, but this past season of Hannibal was AMAZING.

RK: This year is so stacked that not even old Emmy standbys like Michael C. Hall and Hugh Bonneville are going to get nominations. It’s a bloodbath. There’s also Jon Hamm, who will surely get his usual nomination.

JM: I’ve also got Michael Sheen (Masters of Sex) and Kevin Spacey (House of Cards on my list. Also Jeff Daniels, who won last year for The Newsroom.

RK: Please god no

JM: People don’t like that show, I actually happen to enjoy it.

RK: The Newsroom is perhaps the worst television show currently on the air. But moving on, I think almost any other year Matthew Rhys would have a good shot, but I just don’t know if The Americans got enough buzz to get him past everyone else this year. And then of course there’s Kevin Spacey who (unpopular opinion alert) I think is straight-up terrible on House of Cards. But to say he doesn’t have a very good shot at a nomination would be naive.

JM: WHAT?!? I’ll speak for the majority of everyone and say… “How dare you, sir!”

RK: He’s just playing a caricature. there’s no humanity, nuance, or motivation to his Frank Underwood. It’s just scenery chewing and scheming.

JM: Kevin Spacey should win all the awards, always.

JM: You know who we haven’t mentioned that I wish was more in the conversation though? Freddie Highmore on Bates Motel.

RK: Eh. He’s fine. That show is fine sometimes.

JM: He’s so subtly amazing as Norman Bates, I kind of love him for it.

RK: I didn’t think I would ever hear the words “subtle” and Bates Motel in the same sentence.

JM: Well Freddie has whole scenes where it’s just him looking creepy at a camera. I feel like he’s got the least amount of dialogue on that show sometimes.

RK: Jesus, Bates Motel. What a mess, who knows. Anyway, congrats to Matthew McConaughey/Bryan Cranston on his Emmy. On to comedy. I said it during the Best Supporting Actor chat as well but I just straight-up don’t believe that men are funny. And if I were ever looking for empirical proof to back that claim up, it would be the contenders for the Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series Emmy in 2014. This category is a total mess. There’s Jim Parsons who will definitely be nominated and probably win for the Nerds Are People Too Happy Fun-Time Comedy Hour.

JM: Ugh. I’m over CBS comedies dominating this category.

RK: And there’s also Louis C.K. too. He’ll get a nomination as well, but I’m thinking that the rape plot line on this season is going to hurt his chances for a win/me ever watching Louie again There’s also Andy Samberg, who will certainly fill the third spot.

JM: He’s on my list too.

RK: And then it’s anyone’s guess.

JM: I’ve also got Jeff Garlin for The Goldbergs and Chris Messina for The Mindy Project.

RK: I would be surprised at either, but then again I wouldn’t be surprised by anything this year. The category is so weak, I wouldn’t be surprised if Jon Cryer snuck back in there again.

JM: Ughhhhh. I’d also like to see Adam Scott get Parks and Recreation on the ballot. That show is show good and deserves some sort of love for actually making people laugh without being uber-dramatic like other comedies: looking at you Shameless and House of Lies.

RK: Matt LeBlanc and Don Cheadle are possibilities as well and, yeah, no one’s talking about Episodes or House of Lies, but no one was last year either and they were both nominated so. Also this is the first year that Shameless has submit itself as a comedy, which opens the door for a William H. Macy nomination. And one should never underestimate how much Academy voters love him. Which brings me to my other point which is that Academy voters love big stars so I also think that Robin Williams and Michael J. Fox have a chance at a nomination, even though their shows were canceled.

JM: I wouldn’t put it past the Academy, but the logic doesn’t make all that sort of sense.

RK: Well it’s definitely not unheard of for the Academy to nominate a canceled show. I can think of Monk, New Adventures of Old Christine, Arrested Development, and The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien off the top of my head as shows that were nominated after they were canceled.

JM: Yeah I just always get bummed when things win awards that no one bothered to watch. They obviously couldn’t have been that good if they didn’t connect with anyone.

RK: Well equating popularity with the American populous and quality is a terrible mistake.

JM: I’ve also got Jake Johnson on my list for New Girl, but know that’s a giant shot in the dark.

RK: I have two dream nominations: Thomas Middleditch (Silicon Valley) and Bradley Whitford (Trophy Wife). Neither was the best part of his show, but both were certainly excellent and I’d be happy to see them get some recognition. And that’s about it! Good talk. Ban men.


Robert Kessler

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Matthew McConaughey, True Detective
Jon Hamm, Mad Med
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
James Spader, The Blacklist
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Jim Parsons, The Big Bang Theory
Louis C.K., Louie
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
William H. Macy, Shameless
Robin Williams, The Crazy Ones
Don Cheadle, House of Lies

Jason Marshall

Bryan Cranston, Breaking Bad
Woody Harrelson, True Detective
Joel Kinnaman, The Killing
Mads Mikkelsen, Hannibal
Michael Sheen, Masters of Sex
Kevin Spacey, House of Cards

Jeff Garlin, The Goldbergs
Jake Johnson, New Girl
William H. Macy, Shameless
Chris Messina, The Mindy Project
Andy Samberg, Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Adam Scott, Parks and Recreation